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Sept. 3, 2009

COLUMBIA – Following a 16th-place showing at the 2009 NCAA Championship, the first poll of the 2009-10 season predicts South Carolina will finish slightly better than that this year as GolfWorld ranks them 15th in their preseason coaches’ poll, the publication announced today. In addition, sophomore Wesley Bryan was named one of the publication’s “50 Players to Watch” for the 2009-10 season.

The Gamecocks, who returned to the NCAA Championship last year after missing the 30-team field in 2008, return three of five starters from that season, including Bryan and seniors George Bryan IV and Patrick Rada. They were ranked as high as eighth last season before settling at 11th in the final GolfStat rankings.

Oklahoma State leads the preseason rankings, followed by Washington, Georgia, Alabama and Stanford. Arizona State, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Florida and Southern California round out the top 10.

Wesley Bryan, a native of Chapin, S.C., was an All-SEC Freshman honoree last season as he finished with the third-best stroke average on the squad. He had a very strong summer in which he advanced to match play at both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links, making it to the quarterfinals of the latter. He was also the runner-up at the North & South Amateur in July.

South Carolina kicks off their 2009-10 season next weekend in Dalton, Ga., at the Carpet Capital Collegiate.