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Sept. 22, 2013

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team carded a 298 (+10) on Sunday to open play at the sixth annual Rees Jones Invitational at Haig Point Club.

The Gamecocks, who host the event and have won the title on two occasions, are tied for sixth with two rounds left to play. South Carolina will look to gain ground on South Florida over the next two days, as the Bulls sit atop the leaderboard after shooting a 2-under 286.

Sophomore Matt NeSmith and junior Will Murphy both had solid days as they worked their way into the top 10 by posting an even-par 72 to finish the day in a tie for ninth.

A native of North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith got off to a strong start as he was one of only five golfers to record a birdie on the par-4 third hole. After a shaky stretch from holes six through 10 that included three bogeys, NeSmith bounced back nicely to play the final eight holes at 2-under.

Murphy, a native of Columbia, S.C., made four straight pars to begin the day and bogeyed the par-3 fifth to drop to 1-over. He caught fire during the next eight holes, playing them at 4-under to move into a tie for the lead. However, Murphy went on to bogey three of his final five holes to move back to even heading into the clubhouse.

Making his collegiate debut, freshman Ben Dietrich looked sharp, shooting a 1-over 73. Dietrich, who is playing as an individual, carded three bogeys and two birdies, including one on No. 18, to wrap up the day in a tie for 16th.

Junior Caleb Sturgeon and sophomore Will Starke are in a tie for 41st after each shooting a 77 (+5) on Monday, while junior Blaine Woodruff posted a 79 (+7) to finish the round in a tie for 55th.

Kennesaw State finished the day in second place with a total of 290 (+2), followed by Charlotte (291), Liberty (291) and UNC Wilmington (296). South Florida’s Chase Koepka holds the individual lead after firing a 4-under 68.

The Gamecocks will tee off in the second round beginning at 9:40 a.m. on Monday off the 10th tee and will be paired with Liberty and South Florida. Live scoring will be available at

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTST9. Matt NeSmith (3)        72 (E)T9. Will Murphy (4)      72 (E)T41. Will Starke (1)         77 (+5)T41. Caleb Sturgeon (2)   77 (+5)T55. Blaine Woodruff (5)     79 (+7)
TEAM STANDINGS1. South Florida 286 (-2)2. Kennesaw State 290 (+2)T3. Charlotte 291 (+3)T3. Liberty 291 (+3)5. UNCW 296 (+8)T6. East Carolina 298 (+10)T6. South Carolina 298 (+10)T8. Troy 299 (+11)T8. Middle Tennessee St. 299 (+11)10. Georgia State 304 (+16)11. Winthrop 307 (+19)12. Charleston Southern 311 (+23)