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Oct. 2, 2012

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October 2, 2012

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team carded a final-round 305 (+17) on Tuesday to finish in third place at the Rees Jones Invitational at Haig Point Club.

The Gamecocks wrapped up the event with a three-round total of 896 (+32), finishing two strokes behind second-place East Carolina (894). Liberty won the tournament with a total of 870 (+6), which is one stroke off the tournament record.

With winds picking up throughout the day, Tuesday proved to be the toughest round for the field, as the scoring average shot up to 78.14 for the round. The Gamecocks toughed out the conditions and had a strong presence at the top of the leaderboard with five golfers finishing in the top 15.

“The golf course is just so hard,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We played well. It’s frustrating that we didn’t play a little bit better, but you really have to take your hat off to Liberty.”

Senior Dykes Harbin led the way for South Carolina as he recorded a final-round 77 (+5) to finish sixth with a total of 221 (+5). The finish is the best of his career and his second career top-10 showing.

Freshman Matt NeSmith bounced back from his second-round 78 to post a solid round of even-par 72 on Tuesday. A native of North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith earned his first career top-10 finish as he tied for seventh place with a total of 223 (+7).

Senior Dean Hester, who played as an individual, finished in a tie for 13th with a score of 226 (+10) after shooting a final-round 73 (+1).

Sophomores Will Murphy and Caleb Sturgeon tied for 15th with totals of 227 (+11). Murphy closed out the tournament with a 76 (+4), and Sturgeon carded an 80 (+8).

Sophomore Sean Kelly shot an 82 (+10) on the afternoon to finish 42nd with a score of 235 (+19).

Liberty’s Niklas Lindstrom won medalist honors after firing a 2-under 70 in the final round. Lindstrom claimed a six-shot victory with a total of 213 (-3), the second lowest 54-hole score in tournament history.

Charlotte finished placed fourth with a score of 906 (+42), and Winthrop rounded out the top five with a total of 909 (+45). Two-time defending champion Kennesaw State took eighth with a score of 921 (+57).

The Gamecocks will return to action on Oct. 15-16 at the AutoTrader Collegiate at Berkeley Hills Country Club in Atlanta, Ga.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS6. Dykes Harbin  73-71-77=221 (+5)T7. Matt NeSmith     73-78-72=223 (+7)T15. Will Murphy  76-75-76=227 (+11)T15. Caleb Sturgeon    75-72-80=227 (+11)42. Sean Kelly         74-79-82=235 (+19)*T13. Dean Hester     78-75-73=226 (+10)*Played as an individual
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS1. Liberty 284-290-296=870 (+6)2. East Carolina 298-303-293=894 (+30)3. South Carolina 295-296-305=896 (+32)4. Charlotte 306-296-304=906 (+42)5. Winthrop 293-301-315=909 (+45)6. UNCW 309-303-298=910 (+46)7. Iowa State 299-315-301=915 (+51)8. Kennesaw State 306-303-312=921 (+57)9. Charleston Southern 315-301-320=936 (+72)10. Francis Marion 316-309-314=939 (+75)11. Tennessee Tech U. 310-318-322=950 (+86)12. Presbyterian 330-315-320=965 (+101)