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May 14, 2015

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BREMERTON, Wash. — The top-seeded South Carolina men’s golf team is in sixth place at the NCAA Bremerton Regional after shooting an even-par 288 in the opening round on Thursday at Gold Mountain Golf Club’s Olympic Course.

The Gamecocks are eight strokes back of tournament leader UAB and just one stroke outside of the top five. The Blazers shot an 8-under 280 and hold a one-stroke lead over TCU (281) and Southern California (281). Regional host Washington and Iowa State are tied for fourth with a total of 287 (-1). The top five teams and low individual not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship.

Juniors Matt NeSmith and Sean Kelly led the way for Carolina as they both carded a 1-under 71 to finish the round in a tie for 14th. Both NeSmith and Kelly played the front nine bogey free, making the turn at 1-under 35 and 2-under 34, respectively. The Gamecock duo tallied three birdies and just two bogeys apiece for the round. NeSmith rolled in a short birdie putt on No. 18 to wrap up his round under par.

Senior Will Murphy and junior Will Starke are tied for 32nd after each shooting a 1-over 73. Murphy finished his day with three birdies, including one on the par-4 18th to close out his round, and four bogeys, while Starke recorded two birdies and three bogeys.

Rounding out the lineup, senior Caleb Sturgeon shot a 77 (+5) and is in a tie for 55th.

Southern California’s Sean Crocker holds the individual lead after firing a 6-under 66 on Thursday.

Round Changer
NeSmith and Kelly delivered the low rounds of the day for the Gamecocks, as both shot a 1-under 71, recording three birdies and just two bogeys apiece. A native of North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith gave Carolina a solid finish to the round with a birdie on the par-4 18th to get the team back to even par.

• Kelly’s 71 and Murphy’s 73 are career lows for a NCAA Regional in three appearances each. Kelly’s previous low at a regional was 72 at the 2013 Columbus Regional, while Murphy’s was a 74, which he carded twice at the 2014 Eugene Regional and once at the 2012 Norman Regional.
• Kelly and NeSmith were both bogey free on the front nine. Kelly made the turn at 2-under 34, while NeSmith posted a 1-under 35 on the front.
• After playing the par 5s at even as a team on the front nine with two bogeys, the Gamecocks played the par 5s on the back side at 4-under with no bogeys.
• NeSmith and Murphy both closed out their rounds with a birdie on the par-4 18th.
• The top five teams and low individual not on those teams

South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald

“I didn’t see a whole lot of putts made today, but the guys played well. We knew this was going to be a battle to advance out of the regional. There are some really good teams here. This golf course is a little bit tricky. I think we have to make some adjustments tomorrow on the greens, but I think we will be fine.”

Up Next
The Gamecocks will tee off in the second round on Friday beginning at 11:20 a.m. EDT off the first tee and will be paired with Iowa State and Washington. Live scoring will be available at

Pos. Name R1 To Par
T14. Matt NeSmith 71 -1
T14. Sean Kelly 71 -1
T32. Will Starke 73 +1
T32. Will Murphy 73 +1
T55. Caleb Sturgeon 77 +5
Pos. Team R1 To Par
1. UAB 280 -8
T2. TCU 281 -7
T2. Southern California 281 -7
T4. Iowa State 287 -1
T4. Washington 287 -1
6. South Carolina 288 E
7. UC Davis 289 +1
T8. Michigan 292 +4
T8. Pepperdine 292 +4
10. Baylor 293 +5
11. South Dakota 298 +10
12. Sam Houston State 300 +12
13. VCU 304 +16
14. Cleveland State 305 +17