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March 25, 2012

AWENDAW, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team carded an opening-round 291 (+3) on Sunday to finish the day in contention at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate at Bulls Bay Golf Club.

The Gamecocks are in a tie for seventh place just six strokes back co-leaders Kentucky and Auburn, who each posted a 3-under 285 and hold a one-shot lead over defending champion LSU (286).

“The guys played well today,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We lost a few shots in the middle of the round but we had two birdies on 18 which helped a lot. There are a lot of teams in the mix with a chance to win, and we are one of them. We are looking forward to tomorrow.”

The teams finished the round in soggy conditions after severe storms moved through the Awendaw, S.C. area midway through the round and caused a delay of more than an hour.

Freshman Caleb Sturgeon entered the tournament as one of the Gamecocks’ top players this spring and he continued his solid play on Sunday. The Laurens, S.C., native fired a 1-under 71 to wrap up the round in a tie for 10th place. Sturgeon began the day with a birdie on the opening hole but gave the stroke back with a bogey at hole No. 2. After recording birdies on the fourth and sixth holes to move to 2-under, he bogeyed the ninth to make the turn with a 35 (-1). Sturgeon played even the rest of the way with two birdies, two bogeys and five pars as he headed into the clubhouse at 1-under.

Senior Wesley Bryan and sophomore Blaine Woodruff each shot 1-over 73 and are tied for 25th. Bryan was at even par through 13 holes, but bogeys on the 14th an 16th holes dropped him to 2-over. However, he recovered with a birdie on the 18th to end the day with some momentum. Woodruff headed to the 17th tee at even but he bogeyed the hole to fall to 1-over, where he finished the day.

Junior Dykes Harbin turned in a 2-over 74 and is in a tie for 39th, while freshman Will Murphy shot a 76 (+4) and is tied for 59th.

Virginia’s Ji Soo Park posted a 3-under 69 to take a one-shot lead over a group of eight players at 2-under.

Second-round play is slated to begin on Monday at 9 a.m. The Gamecocks are paired with North Carolina State and Mississippi and will begin the day on hole No. 1. Live scoring will be available at

T10. Caleb Sturgeon 71
T25. Wesley Bryan 73
T25. Blaine Woodruff 73
T39. Dykes Harbin 74
T59. Will Murphy 76

T1. Kentucky 285
T1. Auburn 285
3. LSU 286
4. Virginia 287
5. Texas A&M 289
6. North Carolina 290
T7. South Carolina 291
T7. North Carolina State 291
9. Mississippi 292
10. Maryland 293
T11. Augusta State 294
T11. Wofford College 294
13. College of Charleston 295
14. Wake Forest 298
15. Wisconsin 301