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Gamecocks Finish Runner-Up at Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate
Men's Golf  . 

Gamecocks Finish Runner-Up at Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate

March 25, 2014

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AWENDAW, S.C. — The 24th-ranked South Carolina men’s golf team made a run at winning its fourth tournament title of the season on Tuesday at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate but it came up just short, finishing runner-up despite shooting a final-round 276 (-12) at Bulls Bay Golf Club.

The Gamecocks concluded the event with a total of 855 (-9), just three strokes back of Auburn for the title. The Tigers claimed the trophy with a total of 852 (-12) after shooting a 273 (-15) on Tuesday. The second-place finish marks the seventh-straight finish of third or better for South Carolina, which is the longest stretch of top-three finishes in school history.

“I’m really proud of our guys for coming out focused and ready to play today,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win but we made some costly errors down the stretch. Congrats to Auburn. They played really well today and are deserving of the title.”

Four of the five Gamecocks wrapped up the event with top-20 finishes, with sophomore Will Starke leading the way. After collecting his first collegiate win a week ago, Starke continued his stellar play in Awendaw on his way to a seventh-place finish, his fifth top-10 finish this season. His final-round 68 kept him firmly in the top 10 with a total of 212 (-4). Starke was 6-under through 14 holes before playing the final four holes a 2-over, including a double bogey on the par-4 16th. He recorded seven birdies, a bogey and a double bogey on the afternoon.

Junior Will Murphy and freshman Ben Dietrich tied for 11th with a total of 214 (-2), which is a season low for Murphy and a career-low for Dietrich. A native of Columbia, S.C., Murphy carded a 1-under 71, including five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey. Dietrich, who has three top-20 finishes in team events this season, posted a 2-under 70 on Tuesday, tallying five birdies and three bogeys.

Sophomore Matt NeSmith earned his 15th career top-20 finish as he tied for 20th with a total of 217 (+1). He shot a final-round 67 (-5), including a bogey-free 33 (-4) on the front side. On the afternoon NeSmith recorded seven birdies and two bogeys.

Rounding out the lineup, junior Caleb Sturgeon turned in a 75 (+3) on Tuesday to finish the event in a tie for 49th with a total of 226 (+10).

College of Charleston finished third with a total of 857 (-7), followed by Virginia (858) and Wake Forest (865). Kentucky’s Ben Stow defeated Auburn’s Niclas Carlsson in a playoff for medalist honors after both golfers finished their round with a total of 209 (-7).

The Gamecocks will return to the course on April 5-6 at the Augusta State Invitational. The 54-hole event will be held at Forest Hills Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS7. Will Starke (1)       71-73-68=212 (-4)T11. Will Murphy (3)     73-70-71=214 (-2)T11. Ben Dietrich (5)       68-76-70=214 (-2)T20. Matt NeSmith (2)       70-80-67=217 (+1)T49. Caleb Sturgeon (4)       72-79-75=226 (+10)
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS1. Auburn 285-294-273=852 (-12)2. South Carolina 281-298-276=855 (-9)3. College of Charleston 282-297-278=857 (-7)4. Virginia 283-295-280=858 (-6)5. Wake Forest 282-299-284=865 (+1)6. Kentucky 283-310-273=866 (+2)7. Missouri 281-303-284=868 (+4)8. GRU Augusta 297-307-272=876 (+12)9. North Carolina State 287-306-288=881 (+17)10. S. Carolina-Aiken 297-307-282=886 (+22)11. Charleston Southern 290-309-290=889 (+25)12. Duke 298-310-290=898 (+34)T13. Akron 303-309-287=899 (+35)T13. Wisconsin 293-315-291=899 (+35)15. North Carolina 294-316-294=904 (+40)