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May 16, 2008

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – No. 7 South Carolina men’s golf suffered a second difficult round at the NCAA East Regional at Council Fire Golf Club, falling into a tie for 23rd place. After a 288 (+4) in a soggy first round Thursday, play did not get any easier in a 7 a.m. start on Friday as the Gamecocks posted a 293 (+9). Senior Warren Thomas was the lone Gamecock able to handle the course on Friday as he fired a 68 (-3) to move into the team lead.

Thomas’ first-round 73 (+2) was third best on the team, and he improved his standing with Friday’s 68. Teeing off on No. 10 in the second round, the senior was even through six holes when a birdie on the par-4 16th took him under par. A bogey on No. 18 brought him back to even halfway through the round, but he made an impressive move right after the turn. Four birdies on the first five holes, including No. 5 where he holed a shot from the back fringe of the green, sparked his comeback, and he held on late to get to one-under par for the tournament and sit in 36th place.

Senior Mark Anderson is in 49th place, adding a 74 (+3) Friday to his first-round 69 (-2). Hitting par for a majority of his round, Anderson’s lone birdie came in the unlikeliest of ways. The odd shot on the hole was the one that bounced into the back pocket of his mother’s backpack. From there, Anderson found the sand trap before sinking a long putt for the birdie.

Shaving two shots off his first-round total, sophomore George Bryan IV carded a 75 (+4) on Friday. After a rough first hole, he played the remainder of his first nine even then added a birdie on the par-5 second hole. He fought for five pars in the next seven holes to close the round in 126th place.

Like Anderson, junior Mark Silvers III played a clean first nine holes, making the turn at even par, before he endured a roller coaster second half to finish the round at 76 (+5). Silvers birdied three of the first five holes, but added a bogey and a double bogey on the other two. A birdie on the par-4 fifth hole brought him back to even for the round, but a pair of tee shots into the water on No. 8 led to a quadruple bogey, sending him back to 89th place.

Junior Patrick Cunning is tied with Bryan in 126th place after shooting 77 (+6) in the second round. His difficulties came in the first nine holes as he made the turn at five-over. He picked up a birdie on the par-4 eighth hole but closed the round with a bogey on No. 9.

Overall, No. 1 Georgia continued its sprint away from the field, shooting 271 (-13) on Friday after a sizzling 265 (-19) in a soggy first round to hold a 19-stroke lead over Augusta State. Two Bulldogs are in the top three of the individual standings, but it was UAB’s Zach Sucher who made the biggest move on Friday, scorching the course for a 62 (-9) to surge from 21st place into a two-shot lead over Georgia’s Hudson Swafford for the tournament lead.

Play wraps up with a final round on Saturday. The Gamecocks will tee off with Memphis and North Florida beginning at 12:59 p.m. To advance to the NCAA Championship, South Carolina needs to make up 17 strokes on two teams tied for 10th place.