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March 11, 2013

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AIKEN, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team continued its stellar play on Monday, posting rounds of 287 (+7) and 283 (+3) to take the 36-hole lead at the 16th annual Palmetto Intercollegiate at the Palmetto Golf Club.

The Gamecocks will head into Tuesday’s final round with a one-stroke advantage over North Carolina State. The Wolfpack turned in rounds of 284 (+4) and 287 (+7) to move into second place. It’s the second straight week that a tournament title could be decided in a battle between South Carolina and North Carolina State. The Gamecocks finished one stroke back of the Wolfpack in second place a week ago at the USF Invitational.

Freshman Matt NeSmith, who is the reigning SEC Freshman Golfer of the Week, led the way as he fired a career-low 68 (-2) in the first round and a 69 (-1) in the second round. A native of North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith is in third place with a total of 137 (-3) and sits just two strokes back of Virginia’s Mac McLaughlin (135) for the tournament lead.

“We had a good day, and I thought we really handled the tricky greens and windy conditions well,” said South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald, whose team will be playing for its second team title of the season and fourth straight top-three finish. “Matt played exceptional golf, and I know the team overall is looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”

Sophomore Caleb Sturgeon also finished the day in the top 10, shooting rounds of 71 (+1) and 70 (E) to move into a three-way tie for seventh. Sturgeon will be playing for his fifth top-20 finish of the season, including his third in the top 10.

Junior Caulder Moore is in a tie for 25th after carding rounds of 75 (+5) and 71 (+1), while senior Dykes Harbin and sophomore Will Murphy are tied for 30th and 52nd, respectively. Harbin shot rounds of 74 (+4) and 73 (+3), and Murphy posted a 74 (+4) and 77 (+7).

Augusta State and Virginia are in the mix for the team title in a tie for third with a total of 574 (+14). Clemson and Liberty are also within striking distance in a tie for fifth with a total of 577 (+17).

Final-round play will get underway at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Live scoring will not be available.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS3. Matt NeSmith     68-69=137 (-3)T7. Caleb Sturgeon    71-70=141 (+1)T25. Caulder Moore     75-71=146 (+6)T30. Dykes Harbin   74-73=147 (+7)T52. Will Murphy     74-77=151 (+11)
TEAM STANDINGS1. South Carolina 287-283=570 (+10)2. North Carolina State 284-287=571 (+11)T3. Augusta State U. 284-290=574 (+14)T3. Virginia, U. of 291-283=574 (+14)T5. Clemson University 285-292=577 (+17)T5. Liberty University 288-289=577 (+17)7. South Carolina-Aiken 288-292=580 (+20)8. Georgia State Univ. 294-290=584 (+24)T9. Pennsylvania, U. of 297-294=591 (+31)T9. Elon University 295-296=591 (+31)11. Akron, U. of 298-295=593 (+33)T12. Furman University 295-299=594 (+34)T12. Western Carolina 296-298=594 (+34)T14. Nebraska 305-294=599 (+39)T14. Maryland, U. of 303-296=599 (+39)16. Presbyterian 296-304=600 (+40)17. Francis Marion U. 303-308=611 (+51)18. Wofford College 300-312=612 (+52)