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May 16, 2014

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EUGENE, Ore. — The fourth-seeded South Carolina men’s golf team will head into the final round of the NCAA Eugene Regional in position to clinch its second-straight NCAA Championship berth after shooting a 293 (+13) on Friday in the second round at Eugene Country Club.

The Gamecocks are in fourth place with a 36-hole total of 579 (+19) and are four strokes ahead of North Florida and Houston. The Cougars and Ospreys are tied for fifth with a total of 583 (+23). Top-seeded Stanford leads the tournament with a total of 558 (-2), and Oklahoma (567) and host Oregon (569) are second and third, respectively. The top five teams and low individual not on those teams will advance to next week’s NCAA Championship.

“It was another very similar day to yesterday,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We looked good at times and we didn’t look so good at times. Overall we are still in the top five, which is a good thing. We’ve got our work cut out for us tomorrow. I think the guys are a bit frustrated. I know I am. I thought we were going to be a little bit more mentally prepared today to come out and get off to a better start. That hurt us a little bit. It seemed we were playing from behind the eight ball from the start today. The guys are fighting hard, and this is a tough golf course with very difficult pin positions today. We just have to keep grinding and get it done tomorrow.”

The pin placements proved to be tough for the entire field, as only six of the 75 golfers shot under par on Friday, and the round average was close to five strokes above par at 74.88.

For the second day in a row, sophomore Will Starke posted the lowest round for the Gamecocks, carding a 2-over 72 with five birdies and seven bogeys. Starke closed out the day in a tie for fifth with a 36-hole total of 140 (E), trailing Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers by seven strokes for the tournament lead. Rodgers shot a 67 (-3) on Friday and leads the regional with a total of 133 (-7).

Freshman Ben Dietrich carded a 73 (+3) and will enter the final round in 23rd place with a total of 145 (+5). He played his first 11 holes at 6-over but closed in strong fashion, playing the final seven holes at 3-under without a bogey.

Sophomore Matt NeSmith turned in a 75 (+5) and is in a tie for 24th with a two-round total of 147 (+7). He tallied two birdies and seven bogeys on the afternoon.

Juniors Caleb Sturgeon and Will Murphy both recorded their second-straight round of 74 (+4) and are in a tie for 31st with a total of 148 (+8). After playing the front side at 3-over with a birdie, two bogeys and a double bogey, Sturgeon played the back nine at 1-over with one birdie and two bogeys. Murphy concluded his round with two birdies and six bogeys.

The Gamecocks will tee off in the final round on Saturday beginning at 7:50 a.m. PDT and will be paired with Houston and North Florida. Live scoring will be available at

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTST5. Will Starke (3)      68-72=140 (E)23. Ben Dietrich (5)        72-73=145 (+5)T24. Matt NeSmith (1)       72-74=146 (+6)T31. Will Murphy (2)     74-74=148 (+8)T31. Caleb Sturgeon (4)       74-74=148 (+8)
TEAM STANDINGS1. Stanford 276-282=558 (-2)2. Oklahoma 280-287=567 (+7)3. Oregon 289-280=569 (+9)4. South Carolina 286-293=579 (+19)T5. North Florida 286-297=583 (+23)T5. Houston 290-293=583 (+23)7. Chattanooga 295-292=587 (+27)8. ETSU 296-293=589 (+29)9. Tennessee 299-292=591 (+31)10. Liberty 295-297=592 (+32)11. Baylor 294-304=598 (+38)12. Wichita State 295-312=607 (+47)13. Northern Colorado 307-304=611 (+51)