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Oct. 6, 2009

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. – South Carolina’s men’s golf team sprinted away from the rest of the field at the Rees Jones Intercollegiate on Tuesday, winning by an unprecedented 37 shots to claim the top spot in the event for the second straight year. Seniors Paul Woodbury and George Bryan IV tied for individual medalist honors at 2-under, and two of the remaining three Gamecocks finished in the tournament’s top 10.

With the victory, South Carolina has now claimed at least a share of first place in six of its last 14 tournaments (dating back to the 2008 Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate) more than any other SEC school in that time span.

It almost seemed like a repeat of last year’s Rees Jones Intercollegiate. In that event, Woodbury shared the individual title with Wesley Bryan and the Gamecocks ran away with the title, winning by 21 strokes. This time, it was older brother George Bryan IV turning in a round of 69 (-3) to make up a three-shot deficit on his teammate to earn a share of the championship. Woodbury finished the day at even par and turned in rounds of 74-68-72=214 to equal Bryan at 2-under for the week.

The showdown between the two Gamecock seniors came down to the final hole. Bryan got off to a hot start with a bogey-free front nine that included birdies at holes 5, 8 and 9 to make the turn at 3-under. Woodbury, meanwhile, made the turn at 1-under for the day, still clinging to a one-stroke lead. Both Gamecocks would bogey the 11th hole, but then Woodbury’s birdie at the 12th increased his lead to two shots. Bryan would birdie the 15th to pull within one shot of Woodbury, then would take the lead after Woodbury made double-bogey at the par-4 16th. However, Woodbury would recover with a birdie at the 17th to pull back even with Bryan, and both players made par at the 18th.

It marks the second medalist finishes for both players. Bryan’s previous win came at the 2008 Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational, while both of Woodbury’s victories have come at the Rees Jones.

Not to be overlooked was senior Patrick Rada, whose 2-over 74 on Tuesday bumped him up one spot to sixth place, his third top-15 finish in three events this season. He would finish at 222 (+6) for the tournament. In addition, sophomore Wesley Bryan earned his first top-10 of the season after shooting 74 (+2) on Tuesday. He tied for ninth place at 225 (+9) for the week.

Redshirt freshman Clint Tolleson caught fire in the second round Monday afternoon to move into the top 20, but fell a few spots after shooting 79 (+7) on Tuesday. He finished tied for 23rd at 230 (+14).

In the team standings, South Carolina finished at 869 (+5), 37 strokes clear of runner-up UNC Wilmington at 906 (+42). Kennesaw State was third at 45-over, and host Michigan State and Pepperdine finished tied for fourth at 47-over.

The Gamecocks will wrap up their fall schedule Oct. 25-27 at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational in Windermere, Fla. Prior to that, the Garnet Team will play at the CSU Invitational on Oct. 19-20.

T1. Paul Woodbury – 74-68-72=214 (-2)
T1. George Bryan IV – 74-71-69=214 (-2)
6. Patrick Rada – 73-75-74=222 (+6)
T9. Wesley Bryan – 79-72-74=225 (+9)
T23. Clint Tolleson – 82-69-79=230 (+14)

1. SOUTH CAROLINA – 869 (+5)
2. UNC Wilmington – 906 (+42)
3. Kennesaw State – 909 (+45)
T4. Michigan State – 911 (+47)
T4. Pepperdine – 911 (+47)
6. Georgia State – 913 (+49)
7. Mercer – 918 (+54)
8. Jacksonville – 926 (+62)
9. San Jose State – 929 (+65)
10. Coll. of Charleston – 930 (+66)
11. Tennessee State – 949 (+85)
12. Winthrop – 950 (+86)