June 19, 2008
South Carolina Finishes in Top 15
After moving around the top 25 all season, the Gamecocks concluded their 2007-08 season ranked No. 11 in both the GolfStat Head-to-Head Standings and the Golf World/Nike Coaches Poll. South Carolina finished No. 14 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Index. Head coach Bill McDonald’s crew opened the fall with three top-four outings in five events to set the groundwork then went on to finish in the top four five times in seven spring tournaments.
Over 11 tournaments, the Gamecocks posted a 289.25 stroke average, the lowest team average in school history. South Carolina shot a season-best 277 in the final round of the rain-shortened Administaff Augusta State Invitational. It is the lowest round by a team since the 2000-01 Gamecocks shot 277 in the first round of the Golf World Intercollegiate on Nov. 3, 2000.
Gamecocks take Second at SEC Championship
With four players in the top 15, including two in the top 10, South Carolina finished second in the 2008 SEC Championship at Frederica Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Ga. It was the program’s first top-five finish at the event since 2003 and matched the 1998 team’s showing for the best SEC finish in South Carolina history. The team’s 861 (-3) is the lowest SEC Championship score in school history. South Carolina moved past Georgia and Florida on the last day with a final-round 278, their lowest round of the tournament.
For the first time since 2003, the Gamecocks put a pair of players in the top 10 as George Bryan IV tied for second and Mark Silvers III earned a share of seventh place. Bryan’s second place was the best Gamecock finish since Kyle Thompson also tied for second in 1999. Seniors Warren Thomas and Mark Anderson took top-15 spots in their final league event.
Dynamic Duo Captures All-Region and All-SEC honors
Team leaders Mark Anderson and George Bryan IV became the first pair of Gamecocks to earn First-Team All-SEC honors since Eric Ecker and Kyle Thompson both earned spots in 1999. Following the NCAA East Regional, the duo also captured places on the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) PING All-Southeast Region team. It was the second appearance for both players.
Anderson completed his season with a career-best 72.00 average to rank sixth in the SEC. He had seven top-20 finishes, including three top-10 showings. In the last two rounds at the SEC Championship, Anderson recovered from a difficult first round to earn 15th place, his best finish at the event. Anderson also earned All-SEC first team honors in 2005 when he also was named SEC Freshman of the Year.
Bryan finished his season with a 72.47 average, 16th-best in the SEC, and was the team’s top finisher in four events. He tied for second at the SEC Championship, becoming the highest placed Gamecock in the league tournament since Kyle Thompson grabbed the same spot in 1999.
Anderson All-America, Part II
Mark Anderson became the sixth Gamecock golfer in school history to be named All-America multiple times in his career when he earned a spot on the GCAA PING All-America honorable mention list. Anderson also earned All-America status in 2005 when he was named a third team selection. He closed his four years as a Gamecock with a 73.72 career stroke average.
Gamecocks in Top Foursome of Five Spring Tournaments
South Carolina surged in the spring, finishing in the top four in five straight events heading into the NCAA East Regional. The Gamecocks’ last such successful stretch was in the 1998-99 campaign when they placed in the top three in six consecutive tournaments.
South Carolina started its streak at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational with a third-place finish. The Gamecocks finished at 859 (-5), only three strokes behind second-place Florida. Sophomore George Bryan IV earned his first career individual title with a score of 208 (-8), winning the event by one stroke over Alabama’s Michael Thompson.
The Gamecocks continued to do well when they tied with rival Clemson for second place at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate. South Carolina finished at 850 (-2) with three Gamecocks placing in the top 15 of the individual standings. Junior Patrick Cunning, the top finisher for South Carolina, claimed a career-best 10th place with a career-low 221 (-1).
South Carolina finished with an 882 (+18) at the Furman Intercollegiate to take third place. Sophomore Patrick Rada shot a career-low 218 (+2) and placed a career-best fifth.
In the last tournament of the regular season, the Gamecocks placed fourth in the Administaff Augusta State Invitational. Mark Anderson’s score of 140 (-4) and sixth-place finish helped South Carolina post a score of 573 (-3).
The Gamecocks tied their best team finish at the SEC Championships since 1998 when they placed second. South Carolina also shot their tournament best round of 278 in the final round to finish at 861 (-3).
Fourth Place in Callaway Golf Collegiate Match Play
The Gamecocks placed fourth at the prestigious Callaway Golf Collegiate Match Play Championship, squaring off against a pair of league foes in their final fall event. In the first round South Carolina upset No. 7 Florida State, 3-1-1 to then battle No. 2 Alabama in the second round. The Gamecocks knocked off their conference rival 4-1 in the semifinals but fell to third seed Georgia Tech 3-2. In the final round of play, Florida defeated South Carolina 4-1 to drop the Gamecocks into the fourth spot.