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Oct. 1, 2012

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DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team posted solid rounds of 295 (+7) and 296 (+8) on Monday in the first two rounds of the Rees Jones Invitational at Haig Point Club.

On a day when most teams struggled down the stretch, the Gamecocks made up some ground to end the second round to move into second place with a two-round total of 591 (+15), which is 17 strokes behind tournament leader Liberty (574). South Carolina sank eight birdies during their final three holes.

“It’s going to be a big hill to climb but we have a chance on a golf course that is playing extremely difficult,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We showed some fight at the end of the round to give ourselves a chance.”

Senior Dykes Harbin is in contention for medalist honors after carding rounds of 73-71=144 (E). Harbin, whose second-round of 71 was one of only five rounds under par on the day, heads into the final round in a tie for third, trailing Liberty’s Ian McConnell (142) by two strokes for the tournament lead.

After turning in a 3-over 75 in the opening round, sophomore Caleb Sturgeon made a move up the leaderboard in the second round with an even-par 72. A native of Laurens, S.C., Sturgeon is in a tie for 17th with a total of 147 (+3).

Freshman Matt NeSmith and sophomore Will Murphy are also in position to finish in the top 20 as they are in a tie for 19th with rounds of 73-78=151 (+7) and 76-75=151(+7), respectively.

Sophomore Sean Kelly and senior Dean Hester, who is playing as an individual, sit just outside the top 20 in a tie for 27th. Kelly turned in rounds of 74-79=153 (+9), and Hester shot rounds of 78-75=153.

Liberty opened the day with a 284 (-4), which is the second lowest 18-hole score in tournament history, and followed it up with a 290 (+2) to extend its lead. Winthrop is in third with a score of 594 (+18), followed by East Carolina (601) and Charlotte (602).

Final-round play is scheduled to begin with a shotgun start on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. The Gamecocks will be paired with Liberty and Winthrop and will tee off on the first four holes. Live scoring is available at

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTST3. Dykes Harbin     73-71=144 (E)T7. Caleb Sturgeon     75-72=147 (+3)T19. Matt NeSmith    73-78=151 (+7)T19. Will Murphy  76-75=151 (+7)T27. Sean Kelly    74-79=153 (+9)*T27. Dean Hester 78-75=153 (+9)*Playing as an individual
TEAM STANDINGS1. Liberty 284-290=5742. South Carolina 295-296=5913. Winthrop 293-301=5944. East Carolina 298-303=6015. Charlotte 306-296=6026. Kennesaw State 306-303=6097. UNCW 309-303=6128. Iowa State 299-315=6149. Charleston Southern 315-301=61610. Francis Marion 316-309=62511. Tennessee Tech U. 310-318=62812. Presbyterian 330-315=645