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April 26, 2014

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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — For the second-straight year, the South Carolina men’s golf team will head into the final round at the SEC Championship in the final pairing after shooting a second-round 278 (-2) on Saturday at Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course.

The Gamecocks finished the day in a tie for second place with Auburn with a two-round total of 555 (-5) but will have a lot of ground to make up on tournament leader Alabama. The Crimson Tide posted a 266 (-14) on Saturday to take a 17-shot lead with a total of 538 (-22).

“I thought the guys came out today fired up and ready to play,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We posted a very solid round, and I’m proud of how we competed. It looks like it will take something special tomorrow to catch Alabama, but this team is capable and we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Junior Will Murphy followed his first-round 66 (-4) with another red number on Saturday as he fired a 2-under 68. A native of Columbia, S.C., Murphy wrapped up his round with six birdies and four bogeys on the scorecard. He will enter the final round in a tie for second place with a total of 134 (-6) and trails Alabama’s Bobby Wyatt by eight shots. Wyatt carded a 61 in the second round and holds the lead with a total of 126 (-14).

Sophomore Matt NeSmith turned in a 2-over 72 in the second round to finish the day in seventh place with a total of 137 (-3). NeSmith recorded one birdie and three bogeys for his round to remain in the hunt for his fifth top-10 finish this season.

Freshman Ben Dietrich carded a 1-over 71 to end the afternoon in a tie for 31st with a total of 143 (+3). After recording a birdie on the fifth hole to get to 1-under early, he made double bogey on the ninth to make the turn at 1-over. He then played the final nine holes at even par to get into the clubhouse at 1-over.

Sophomore Will Starke shaved four strokes off his first-round score to shoot an even-par 70. He tallied three birdies and three bogeys to enter Sunday’s round in a tie for 36th with a total of 144 (+4).

Junior Caleb Sturgeon bounced back nicely from an opening-round 77 (+7) to shoot a 1-under 69 on Saturday. He recorded four birdies and three bogeys on the afternoon to climb 17 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 47th with a total of 146 (+6).

The Gamecocks will begin teeing off in the final round on Sunday at 9:10 a.m. and will be paired with Alabama and Auburn. Live scoring will be available at

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTST2. Will Murphy (4)      66-68=134 (-6)7. Matt NeSmith (1)     65-72=137 (-3)T31. Ben Dietrich (5)       72-71=143 (+3)T36. Will Starke (2)     74-70=144 (+4)T47. Caleb Sturgeon (3)       77-69=146 (+6)
TEAM STANDINGS1. Alabama 272-266=538 (-22)T2. South Carolina 277-278=555 (-5)T2. Auburn 274-281=555 (-5)4. LSU 284-275=559 (-1)5. Georgia 277-284=561 (+1)6. Arkansas 280-287=567 (+7)T7. Missouri 288-280=568 (+8)T7. Mississippi State 287-281=568 (+8)9. Kentucky 287-284=571 (+11)10. Florida 292-281=573 (+13)11. Texas A&M 288-286=574 (+14)12. Vanderbilt 288-288=576 (+16)13. Tennessee 289-290=579 (+19)14. Mississippi 292-293=585 (+25)