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March 4, 2013

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DADE CITY, Fla. — The South Carolina men’s golf team fired a second-round 283 (-5) on Monday to remain in contention at the USF Invitational at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club.

The Gamecocks are in second place heading into Tuesday’s final round with a total of 570 (-6). Carolina is just three strokes back of tournament leader North Carolina State. The Wolfpack has a total of 567 (-9) after carding a second-round 280 (-8).

South Carolina entered the day at 1-under and remained there through nine holes. However, the Gamecocks played the back nine at 5-under to fight back into position to play for their second tournament title of the season. All five golfers in the lineup finished the day at par or lower on their way to recording the second-best team round of the season.

“It was a great effort by all five guys today, and they really kept us in the tournament,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We are looking forward to the challenge tomorrow, and having the chance to win will be a great experience for our team.”

All five Gamecocks are in the mix for a top-20 finish. Senior Dykes Harbin is tied for third with a total of 140 (-4). Sophomores Will Murphy and Caleb Sturgeon are tied for eighth and 10th, respectively, with scores of 143 (-1) and 144 (E). Freshman Matt NeSmith is tied for 14th with a total of 145 (+1), and junior Caulder Moore sits just outside the top 20 in a tie for 22nd with a total of 147 (+3).

Harbin carded an even-par 72 and will head into the final round four strokes back of North Carolina State’s Albin Choi, who leads the tournament with a total of 136 (-8). He had an up and down front side on his way to making the turn with a 38 (+2) but he settled down on the back nine to get back to even with two birdies and eight pars.

Playing the best stretch of golf of his Gamecock career, Murphy posted his fifth round of par or better in his last eight rounds with a 70 (-2) on Monday. The Columbia, S.C., native made the turn at 2-under and played even the rest of the way as he recorded four birdies, two bogeys and 12 pars on the afternoon.

A native of Isle of Palms, S.C., Moore tied Murphy for the low round by a Gamecock as he posted a season-low 70 (-2). He shot 1-under on both sides, finishing the round with four birdies, two bogeys and 12 pars on his scorecard.

Sturgeon will be playing for his third straight top-10 finish after carding an even-par 72. He wrapped up his round with five birdies, five bogeys and eight pars.

NeSmith survived a rocky start to shoot a 1-under 71. After making a double bogey and two bogeys in his first five holes to drop to 3-over, he bounced back nicely by playing the final 13 holes at 4-under. For the round he recorded six birdies, three bogeys, a double bogey and eight pars.

Sixteenth-ranked Florida State is in third with a total of 579 (+3), while Kentucky (582) and Mercer (587) round out the top five.

The Gamecocks will be paired with North Carolina State and Florida State on Tuesday in the final round and will begin teeing off at 9:40 a.m. on the first hole. Live scoring will be available here.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTST3. Dykes Harbin (1)        68-72=140 (-4)T8. Will Murphy (4)      73-70=143 (-1)T10. Caleb Sturgeon (2)       72-72=144 (E)T14. Matt NeSmith (3)           74-71=145 (+1)T22. Caulder Moore (5)     77-70=147 (+3)
TEAM STANDINGS1. North Carolina State 287-280=567 (-9)2. South Carolina 287-283=570 (-6)3. Florida State 293-286=579 (+3)4. Kentucky 295-287=582 (+6)5. Mercer 289-298=587 (+11)6. Virginia 289-300=589 (+13)7. South Florida 296-294=590 (+14)8. Kennesaw State 300-295=595 (+19)9. Louisville 296-304=600 (+24)T10. Troy 304-297=601 (+25)T10. Rice 300-301=601 (+25)12. Middle Tennessee St. 304-298=602 (+26)13. Cincinnati 306-297=603 (+27)T14. DePaul 312-296=608 (+32)T14. Marquette 308-300=608 (+32)16. Eastern Michigan 300-311=611 (+35)17. Wisconsin 310-303=613 (+37)