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KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team battled through extremely challenging conditions on Monday to post one of the best scores of the afternoon as it shot a 293 (+9) in the second round of the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic at Turtle Point Golf Club.

With wind gusts nearing 40 mph, the Gamecocks turned in the third lowest score of the round to remain in the lead with a two-day total of 575 (+7). South Carolina holds a seven-shot lead over College of Charleston (582) heading into Tuesday’s final round.

The conditions were so tough on Monday that the tournament stroke average shot up more than two strokes from Sunday to 78.61. As a team, South Carolina had an average of 74.20.

“It was a brutally tough day today with wind gusts up to 40 mph at times,” said South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald, whose team is looking to claim its first tournament title since winning the 2009 Rees Jones Invitational. “I thought the guys played a very solid round overall, and we are looking forward to another challenging day tomorrow.”

The Gamecocks will have three golfers vying for medalist honors on Tuesday. Sophomore Caleb Sturgeon and freshman Matt NeSmith are tied for second with two-round totals of 142 (E) as they trail Stetson’s Dustin Dingus (141) by one stroke. Freshman Will Starke is two strokes back in a tie for fifth place with a total of 143 (+1).

Sturgeon, who was tied for the lead after the opening round, posted a 3-over 74 on Monday to remain in the hunt for his first career tournament win. He recorded 13 pars, four bogeys and a birdie, which came on the par-3 seventh.

NeSmith is in position to play for his first career victory as well after turning in a 2-over 73. A native of North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith tallied 14 pars, three bogeys and a birdie on the day.

Starke, who is playing in his first collegiate tournament, carded a 2-over 73. The Chapin, S.C., native struggled on the front side as he made the turn at 3-over after recording four bogeys, four pars and a birdie. However, he bounced back nicely on the back nine, making just one bogey to go along with two birdies and six pars to finish the round at 2-over.

Senior Dykes Harbin overcame a rough start to shoot a 2-over 73 as he moved 17 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 29th with a score of 148 (+6). Harbin, the No. 34 golfer in the country according to Golfstat, made a double bogey and a bogey on the front side to go along with six pars to make the turn at 3-over. He dropped to 4-over after a bogey on No. 11. However, he finished strong by playing the last seven holes at 2-under to get into the clubhouse with a 73.

Junior Caulder Moore is tied for 49th with a score of 153 (+11) after shooting a 78 (+7) on Monday.

Wisconsin is 12 strokes back of the Gamecocks in third place with a total of 587 (+19), followed by Winthrop (589) and Western Kentucky (594).

The final round is slated to get underway at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Live scoring will be available by clicking here.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTST2. Matt NeSmith (2)             69-73=142 (E)T2. Caleb Sturgeon (3)         68-74=142 (E)T5. Will Starke (5)       70-73=143 (+1)T29. Dykes Harbin (1)        75-73=148 (+6)T49. Caulder Moore (4)      75-78=153 (+11)
TEAM STANDINGS1. South Carolina 282-293=575 (+7)2. College of Charleston 290-292=582 (+8)3. Wisconsin 296-291=587 (+19)4. Winthrop 289-300=589 (+21)5. Western Kentucky U. 295-299=594 (+26)6. Jacksonville St. 305-291=596 (+28)7. Campbell 298-302=600 (+32)8. Radford 292-310=602 (+34)9. Presbyterian College 299-305=604 (+36)10. Stetson 300-305=605 (+37)11. Marquette 297-309=606 (+38)12. St. John's 308-299=607 (+39)T13. High Point 300-309=609 (+41)T13. William & Mary 302-307=609 (+41)15. Connecticut 299-311=610 (+42)16. Utah Valley 302-309=611 (+43)17. Charleston Southern 300-312=612 (+44)18. Loyola Univ-Maryland 306-309=615 (+47)19. George Washington U. 311-307=618 (+50)20. Francis Marion 305-314=619 (+51)T21. Boise State 300-322=622 (+54)T21. USC Upstate 302-320=622 (+54)23. Towson 305-323=628 (+60)24. Mount St. Mary's 315-317=632 (+64)25. Butler 317-319=636 (+68)26. Bradley University 303-337=640 (+72)