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Sept. 30, 2013

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VERONA, Wis. — Led by a 5-under 67 from sophomore Matt NeSmith, the South Carolina men’s golf team posted a 5-under 283 on Monday in the second round of the Badger Invitational at University Ridge Golf Course, increasing its lead to 18 strokes with one round remaining.

Playing through wind gusts of up to 15 miles per hour, the Gamecocks shot the lowest round of the afternoon to remain in the lead with a two-round total of 565 (-11). Austin Peay is South Carolina’s closest competitor in second place with a total of 583 (+7).

“Today’s round was one of the best we have played in quite a while,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “Matt’s 67 in tough, windy conditions was really good. We showed some strong character in the middle of the round and fought hard through a demanding stretch of holes on the back nine. We are looking forward to tomorrow and the challenge of playing with the lead.”

NeSmith’s round moved him up the leaderboard into second place with a total of 139 (-5). A native of North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith trails teammate Caleb Sturgeon by two strokes. Sturgeon maintained the individual lead with a total of 137 (-7) after shooting an even-par 72 on Monday. The Laurens, S.C., native will be playing for his second career tournament title.

Junior Will Murphy put himself in contention as well, shooting a 1-under 71 to finish the round in a tie for fourth with a total of 143 (-1).

Sophomore Will Starke bounced back from a first-round 77 to shoot a 1-over 73 on Monday. Starke wrapped up the day in a tie for 40th with a total of 150 (+6). Rounding out the lineup, freshman Ben Dietrich is in a tie for 47th with a total of 151 (+7) after posting a 78 (+6).

Missouri-Kansas City and Kansas are tied for third with a total of 584 (+8), while USC Upstate rounds out the top five with a total of 586 (+10). Wofford’s George Perkovich will be in the mix for medalist honors as he sits in third place with a total of 141 (-3).

Tuesday’s final round will begin with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. The Gamecocks will be paired with Austin Peay and Missouri-Kansas City. Live scoring will not be available, but results will be posted to following the round.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS1. Caleb Sturgeon 65-72=137 (-7)2. Matt NeSmith     72-67=139 (-5)T4. Will Murphy      72-71-143 (-1)T40. Will Starke 77-73=150 (+6)T47. Ben Dietrich   73-78=151 (+7)
TEAM STANDINGS1. South Carolina 282-283=565 (-11)2. Austin Peay 290-293=583 (+7)T3. Missouri-Kansas City287-297=584 (+8)T3. Kansas 290-294=584 (+8)5. USC Upstate 286-300=586 (+10)6. Illinois State 287-300=587 (+11)7. Wofford 292-295=588 (+12)8. Xavier 287-303=590 (+14)9. Charleston Southern 292-300=592 (+16)10. Rutgers 298-295=593 (+17)11. Marquette 291-303=594 (+18)12. Wisconsin 295-307=602 (+26)13. Northern Illinois 302-316=618 (+42)14. Northern Kentucky 310-311=621 (+45)