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March 4, 2012

Tournament NotesGet Acrobat Reader

March 4, 2012
Coach McDonald

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team is set open play in its second event of the spring as it travels to Aiken, S.C. for the 15th annual Palmetto Intercollegiate.

The 54-hole event runs Monday through Tuesday, with 36 holes of competition scheduled for the first day. The Gamecocks are making their first appearance in the event since winning it in 2004.

“I’m glad we finally get to play in it,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “Mike Carlisle, the head coach at USC Aiken, is a good friend of mine and he’s been inviting us for the last few years, but we’ve had some other conflicts. We are really excited to head to the Palmetto Intercollegiate.”

Carolina is coming off one of its best performances of the season as it finished third in the Seahawk Invitational last week. Senior Wesley Bryan won the tournament with a three-day score of 209 (-7) to lead the way. He became the first Gamecock to win a regular season tournament since Paul Woodbury captured the Seminole Intercollegiate on March 14, 2010. His three rounds under par lowered his career scoring average to 72.91, which ranks third school history.

“It’s the most focused and polished that I’ve seen Wesley’s game in a while,” McDonald said. “Obviously, it helps the team when he’s in that mode, and he showed great leadership from the practice round all the way to the final round.”

The Gamecocks will be competing with their youngest lineup of the season, as Bryan, junior Dykes Harbin and freshmen Sean Kelly, Caleb Sturgeon and Will Murphy will tee it up on Monday. Sturgeon opened the spring playing the best golf of his young Gamecock career as he tied for seventh at the Seahawk Invitational with a score of 215 (-1).

Carolina will compete against 17 teams at the event, including in-state rival Clemson. Host USC Aiken, Akron, Augusta State, Chattanooga, College of Charleston, East Carolina, Elon, Francis Marion, Furman, Georgia Southern, Liberty, Maryland, Presbyterian, Wofford, Vanderbilt and Virginia round out the field.

The tournament is played at the Palmetto Golf Club, which has a par-71, 6,617-yard layout. McDonald said his team is anxious to tee off on the historical course, which is recognized as the fourth oldest golf course in the country.

“The golf course is historic, and a lot of our players on the team have played it before,” McDonald said. “They love it, and it’s a very solid field. We are just looking forward to going down there, and I think it will be a great event for us.”

The first two rounds of the tournament will be played on Monday, beginning with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m., while the final round is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.