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Gamecocks T-4th After First Round of Bayou City Championships
Men's Golf  . 

Gamecocks T-4th After First Round of Bayou City Championships

Feb. 21, 2014

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HUMBLE, Texas — Behind a 68 (-4) from junior Caleb Sturgeon and a 70 (-2) from junior Will Murphy, the 25th-ranked South Carolina men’s golf team shot a 288 (E) on Friday in the first round of the Bayou City Collegiate Championships at the Golf Club of Houston.

The Gamecocks wrapped up the round in a tie for fourth with Baylor and Rice with 36 holes of play remaining. Individually, Sturgeon put himself in position to play for his second individual title of the season. The Laurens, S.C., native is tied with Houston’s Wesley McClain for the tournament lead at 4-under. Murphy is in the mix as well in a tie for ninth at 2-under.

“I thought we played pretty well today overall,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “Caleb and Will really carried us, and the other guys were close to playing well but looked a little rusty. A solid round tomorrow should get us into contention for the final round.”

South Carolina will look to gain ground on tournament host Houston over the next two days. The Cougars turned in an 8-under 280 to take the first-round lead and are five shots ahead of second-place Texas (285). Arkansas is alone in third place after shooting a 1-under 287.

The Gamecocks began their day on the 10th hole, and Sturgeon came out posting plenty of red numbers early on. After making a birdie to open his round, he dropped back to even par with a bogey on the par-4 11th. However, he bounced back by reeling off five consecutive birdies to get to 5-under on the day. A bogey on the 18th left him at 4-under at the turn. Bogeys on No. 3 and No. 5 moved him to 2-under, but he finished strong, recording an eagle on the par-5 eighth and a par on No. 9 to get into the clubhouse with a 68.

A native of Columbia, S.C., Murphy double bogeyed his second hole of the day but did not have a blemish on his scorecard the rest of the way. He made back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th holes on the front side and birdied No. 1 and No. 8 on the back nine to finish two-shots back of the lead.

Sophomores Matt NeSmith and Will Starke and junior Blaine Woodruff all shot a 3-over 75 on Friday and concluded the round in a tie for 56th. NeSmith and Woodruff each recorded two birdies and five bogeys on the afternoon, while Starke turned in one birdie and four bogeys.

The Gamecocks are slated to tee off in the second round on Saturday beginning at 10:45 a.m. ET and will be paired with Rice and Baylor. Live scoring will be available through GOLFSTAT.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTST1. Caleb Sturgeon (2)        68 (-4)T9. Will Murphy (4)      70 (-2)T56. Matt NeSmith (1)           75 (+3)T56. Will Starke (3)     75 (+3)T56. Blaine Woodruff (5) 75 (+3)
TEAM STANDINGS1. Houston 280 (-8)2. Texas 285 (-3)3. Arkansas 287 (-1)T4. South Carolina 288 (E)T4. Rice 288 (E)T4. Baylor 288 (E)7. Mississippi State 289 (+1)8. Louisiana Tech 290 (+2)9. UTSA 292 (+4)T10. Charlotte 293 (+5)T10. South Florida 293 (+5)12. New Mexico State 294 (+6)T13. Louisiana 295 (+7)T13. Houston Baptist 295 (+7)15. Lamar 298 (+10)