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Nov. 14, 2011

November 14, 2011
Coach McDonald

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf program signed two student-athletes during the November early signing period, head coach Bill McDonald announced Monday.

Matt NeSmith (North Augusta, S.C.) and Will Starke (Chapin, S.C.) have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Gamecocks for the 2012-13 season. Both Nesmith and Starke will come to Columbia as two of the top junior golfers in the country.

“It is with great pleasure that we announce the signing of our 2012 class. Will Starke and Matt Nesmith are two very accomplished junior golfers, and I expect both of them to have an immediate impact on Carolina golf when they arrive next fall,” McDonald said. “We have been recruiting Matt for what seems like an eternity, and it is great to finally have him officially a Gamecock. Will was in some ways a `late bloomer’ and we were very lucky to get him. They both represent the kind of talent we have in the state of South Carolina, and we are thrilled to have them joining our program.”

5810265.jpeg NeSmith, who is a first team American Junior Golf Association All-American, is currently ranked No. 3 in the Golfweek junior rankings and No. 5 in the Polo junior rankings. He will join South Carolina after lettering four years at North Augusta High School under direction of coach Craig Gilstrap. At North Augusta, NeSmith was the medalist in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Carolina Region 4A Championship. He also won the South Carolina Lower State in 2011, finished second at the 4A State Championship in 2010 and fourth in 2011. NeSmith will bring an impressive junior résumé that includes wins at the 2009 Orange Jacket Junior, the 2009 and 2010 George Holliday Junior, 2010 SCJGA Fall Challenge and the 2011 Junior Heritage. He also had second-place finishes at the 2010 Jones Cup Junior Invitational and 2011 SCJGA South Carolina Junior Championship, third-place showings at the 2010 SCJGA South Carolina Players Championship and the 2011 Bobby Chapman Invitational and AJGA Ping Invitational and he finished fourth at the 2011 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. NeSmith represented the East in the AJGA Wyndham Cup and was the only player to go 4-0-0 for all his matches. He qualified for the 2011 US Junior and finished 10th in the stroke play portion. He was also named 2010 Male Athlete of the Year by the Greater Augusta Area Sports Council.

5810264.jpeg Starke, a standout at Chapin High School, is currently ranked 30th nationally by the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings for the Class of 2012. At the 2011 US Junior Amateur, Starke posted rounds of 68 (-4) and 71 (-1) to finish second in the stroke play portion of the event and advanced to the quarterfinals of the match play. The Chapin, S.C., native claimed first at the 2011 Southern Cross and tied for fifth at the 2011 Big `I’ National Championship. Starke was a member of the Carolinas Junior team in both 2010 and 2011. He finished tied for first at the 2011 Carolinas Golf Association Junior and tied for second at the 2010 event. He had a second-place showing at the 2011 Carolina’s Junior PGA. He placed third at the 2011 South Carolina Junior. Starke received the 2011 David Parrott Memorial Award. He is a member of both the National Honor Society and the Beta Club.