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Feb. 28, 2011

By Wes Todd
Assistant Media Relations Director

WILMINGTON, N.C. – Junior Wesley Bryan took home a third-place finish for South Carolina as the Gamecocks opened the spring season with a fifth-place showing at the Seahawk Invitational, which concluded Tuesday at the Country Club of Landfall Nicklaus Course.

“The guys fought really hard this week,” head coach Bill McDonald said. “The first round was weird, we had 16 birdies and shot 16-over. But then we had a great round yesterday afternoon to get back in contention. We’re kind of frustrated because we gave a few away today and could have been at least third or better. But I think overall it was really good; all five guys inside the top 27, that’s a good sign. We were really close to playing lights-out at times. We’ve just got to use that as motivation and take it to (our next tournament at) Bandon Dunes.”

The Gamecocks shot a final-round 301 (+15) on an extremely windy day that led to high scores for all players; no individual finished under par for the tournament and only one player broke par on Tuesday. Overall, Carolina posted rounds of 304-285-301=890 (+26), 11 shots behind tournament champion and host UNC Wilmington.

“The wind today was pretty crazy,” McDonald said. “There were times it was a three- or four-club wind. If it blows much harder than today, they would probably have to shut a golf course down. Another 5-10 miles per hour and it’s probably unplayable. But the guys battled and hopefully learned a lot this week. We’ve definitely got to step it up as we go forward.”

Bryan turned in his second career top-five finish as he tied for third place with rounds of 75-69-75=219 (+3), moving up two spots on the leaderboard with his 3-over-par final round. Bryan had five top-10 finishes in 2009-10, but has not cracked the top-5 of a tournament since tying teammate Paul Woodbury for medalist honors at the 2008 Rees Jones Intercollegiate.

“Wesley played great this week, which was good to see,” McDonald said. “I’m really proud of him. To have the finish to the fall like he did and come back out and play like he did this week…that was pretty good. He had a legitimate chance to win.”

Sophomore Dean Hester had the Gamecocks’ best round of the day, posting a 1-over-par 73 to finish at 77-72-73=222 (+6) and tied for 13th place. It was the second straight top-20 showing for the native of Dublin, Ga., who was competing in just his sixth varsity event as a Gamecock. Freshman Blaine Woodruff earned his third top-20 finish in five tries, shooting 76-69-78=223 (+7) to tie for 15th place.

Dykes Harbin posted his third-straight round of 76 (+4) to finish at 228 (+12) for the week and in 26th place. It was the best varsity finish for the sophomore from Augusta, Ga., as he made his third appearance in the Gamecocks’ starting lineup. Freshman Logan Harrell was one shot back of Harbin, shooting 77-75-77=229 (+13) to tie for 27th place.

Tournament host UNC Wilmington won the team title at 879 (+15), four shots ahead of runner-up Liberty at 883 (+19). Wake Forest and East Carolina tied for third place at 888 (+24), two shots ahead of the Gamecocks. UNCW’s Thomas Bass was the medalist at even-par 216, with Liberty’s Preston Dembowiak taking runner-up honors at 217 (+1). Bryan tied Wake Forest’s Charlie Harrison for third place.

The Gamecocks will travel cross-country for their next event, making the trek to Bandon, Ore., for the Bandon Dunes Championship. The tournament runs March 11-12 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, which will also be the site of the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in June.

February 27-28, 2011
Country Club of Landfall (Nicklaus) • Par 72, 6,918 yards

T3. Wesley Bryan – 75-69-75=219 (+3)
T13. Dean Hester – 77-72-73=222 (+6)
T15. Blaine Woodruff – 76-69-78=223 (+7)
26. Dykes Harbin – 76-76-76=228 (+12)
T27. Logan Harrell – 77-75-77=229 (+13)

1. UNC Wilmington – 290-293-296=879 (+15)
2. Liberty – 303-285-295=883 (+19)
T3. Wake Forest – 291-287-310=888 (+24)
T3. East Carolina – 294-286-308=888 (+24)
5. South Carolina – 304-285-301=890 (+26)
6. VCU – 301-303-299=903 (+39)
T7. Davidson – 297-305-317=919 (+55)
T7. North Carolina – 301-304-314=919 (+55)
9. Old Dominion – 312-300-316=928 (+64)
10. Georgia State – 314-295-326=935 (+71)
11. Towson – 313-313-328=954 (+90)
12. Delaware – 305-338-338=981 (+117)