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Sept. 24, 2013

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. — The South Carolina men’s golf team came up short of claiming its third Rees Jones Invitational title on Tuesday as it shot a final-round 299 (+11) to finish in a tie for second at Haig Point Club.

The Gamecocks, who have never placed worse than third at the event, finished tied with South Florida with a three-round total of 887 (+23) to fall two shots shy of tournament champion Kennesaw State. The Owls captured their third Rees Jones Invitational trophy with a total of 885 (+21).

“I’m proud of the guys and how hard they fought this week,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “After a tough start the first day, we really came back well and had a great chance to win at the end. To have three teams within two shots of each other in the end is a great college tournament. Hats off to Kennesaw State. They played some great golf on a very demanding course.”

The final day proved to be the toughest, as the average score rose to 78.16 with winds gusting as high as 20 miles per hour.

South Carolina fought through the conditions to place three golfers in the top 15. Sophomore Matt NeSmith was the highest Gamecock on the leaderboard as he finished in a tie for fourth with a total of 218 (+2) after shooting a 74 (+2) on Tuesday. It was the third top-five finish of his career.

Junior Will Murphy carded the lowest round of the day for the Gamecocks, shooting a 1-over 73 to finish in a tie for sixth with a total of 219 (+3). Junior Caleb Sturgeon posted a final-round 77 (+5) to record his second-straight top-15 finish at Haig Point with a total of 222 (+6).

Sophomore Will Starke tied for 33rd with a total of 231 (+15) after turning in a 75 (+3) in the final round, while junior Blaine Woodruff shot an 80 (+8) to tie for 48th with a total of 235 (+19).

Playing as an individual in his first collegiate event, freshman Ben Dietrich finished in a tie for 33rd with a total of 229 (+13) after carding an 81 (+9).

South Florida’s Chase Koepka claimed medalist honors with a total of 212 (-4).

The Gamecocks will return to the course on Sunday in the Badger Invitational. The 54-hole event runs through Tuesday at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTST4. Matt NeSmith (3)        72-72-74=218 (+2)T6. Will Murphy (4)      72-74-73=219 (+3)T14. Caleb Sturgeon (2)   77-68-77=222 (+6)T37. Will Starke (1)         77-79-75=231 (+15)T48. Blaine Woodruff (5)     79-76-80=235 (+19)*T33. Ben Dietrich      73-75-81=229 (+13)*Played as an individual
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS1. Kennesaw State 290-297-298=885 (+21)T2 South Carolina 298-290-299=887 (+23)T2 South Florida 286-297-304=887 (+23)4 UNCW 296-293-305=894 (+30)5 East Carolina 298-292-309=899 (+35)6 Middle Tennessee St. 299-300-301=900 (+36)7 Liberty 291-305-305=901 (+37)8 Charlotte 291-306-306=903 (+39)T9 Winthrop 307-301-301=909 (+45)T9 Troy 299-294-316=909 (+45)11 Georgia State 304-299-320=923 (+59)12 Charleston Southern 311-308-331=950 (+86)