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Feb. 25, 2012

Tournament NotesGet Acrobat Reader

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team opens its spring season on Sunday with the first two rounds of the Seahawk Invitational hosted by UNC Wilmington.

The tournament runs through Monday at the Country Club of Landfall’s par-72, 6,946-yard Nicklaus Course in Wilmington, N.C. The Gamecocks look to continue their success after a strong close to the fall schedule with a second-place finish at the Rees Jones Invitational and a fifth-place showing at the Bridgestone Wyndham Collegiate.

“We finished the fall with a little bit of momentum,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “And I think we had a very productive break over the winter. We’ve had one of the most competitive qualifiers that we’ve had in years here over the last six weeks. I’m really excited for the team to just get started. I’m really proud of this group and the work they’ve put in so far.”

The Gamecocks will have the same lineup they closed out the fall with, as senior Wesley Bryan, junior Dykes Harbin, sophomore Blaine Woodruff, and freshmen Sean Kelly and Will Murphy are slated to play after a very competitive qualifier. Freshman Caleb Sturgeon will also play as an individual.

Harbin has been a steady leader for Carolina with a team-best 73.27 scoring average. He has turned in only three rounds worse than 73 this season. Kelly has also played a key role in the team’s success, as his 73.50 stroke average is second on the team. Bryan, who has played in all but one tournament during his career, enters the spring with the eighth-best career scoring average in school history (73.54).

Woodruff competed in all four events in the fall for Carolina and produced a stroke average of 75.73, while Murphy gained experience in one event.

Carolina will compete against 11 teams at the Seahawk Invitational, including three ranked in the Golfweek Top 50. No. 26 Chattanooga, No. 31 Liberty and No. 45 Wake Forest highlight the field, while host UNC Wilmington, East Carolina, Davidson, James Madison, George Mason, VCU, Old Dominion and Drexel will also compete for the title.

The Gamecocks are making their third-straight appearance at the Seahawk Invitational. Carolina claimed fifth at last year’s tournament with a score of 890 (+26). Bryan tied for third to lead the way with a score of 219 (+3). Host UNC Wilmington won the event with a score of 879 (+15).

First-round play is scheduled to get underway at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday. South Carolina is paired with VCU for the first two rounds. Live scoring will not be available for the event. A full recap and results will be posted at at the end of each day’s play.