May 16, 2015
BREMERTON, Wash. — The top-seeded South Carolina men’s golf team secured its third-straight trip to the NCAA Championship with an incredible run on the back nine in the final round of the NCAA Bremerton Regional on Saturday at Gold Mountain Golf Club’s Olympic Course.
As a team, the Gamecocks shot a combined 13-under on the final nine holes to post a total of 274 (-14) to finish the tournament in second place with a 54-hole total of 845 (-19). The four Gamecocks whose scores counted on Saturday combined to shoot 15-under on the back nine without making a bogey.
With the second-place finish, Carolina advances to the NCAA Championship, which will be held May 29-June 3 at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Four Gamecocks posted rounds in the 60s on Saturday, with junior Matt NeSmith leading the way. NeSmith fired a bogey-free 67 to finish tied for seventh with a total of 210 (-6). The top-10 finish is the 17th of NeSmith’s career, which moves him into a tie for fourth on Carolina’s career top-10 finishes list with George Bryan IV (2006-10). A native of North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith made the turn at 1-under but birdied four of his first six holes on the back nine and made par the rest of the way to get into the clubhouse at 5-under.
Junior Will Starke and seniors Will Murphy and Caleb Sturgeon all carded rounds of 69 (-3) for the Gamecocks. Starke, who finished tied for 10th with a total of 212 (-4), shot 1-over 37 on the front nine but bounced back with a bogey-free 32 on the back. With the top-10 finish, Starke moved into a tie for seventh with Carl Paulson (1989-93) on Carolina’s career top-10 finishes list with 14. Murphy wrapped up the week in a tie for 28th with a total of 217 (+1). A native of Columbia, S.C., Murphy recorded just one bogey on the day and recorded a bogey-free 32 on the back nine. Sturgeon finished tied for 33rd with a total of 219 (+3). He tallied just one bogey on the day, making the turn at even-par 36 and carding a bogey-free 33 (-3) on the back side.
Junior Sean Kelly shot a final-round 75 (+3) to earn his fifth top-20 finish of the season, finishing tied for 20th with a total of 214 (-2).
UAB won the regional with a total of 843 (-21), while Southern California (847), TCU (854) and Washington (854) finished third and tied for fourth, respectively, to advance to the NCAA Championship.
Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan won medalist honors with a total of 203 (-13). Michigan’s Kyle Mueller tied for second with a total of 207 (-9) to earn the individual spot to the NCAA Championship.
The Gamecocks made their move up the leaderboard on the back nine, shooting a combined 13-under as a team. The four Gamecocks who counted on Saturday combined to shoot 15-under without making a bogey.
â€¢ The Gamecocks earned their third-straight trip to the NCAA Championship and their 19th all-time.
â€¢ Carolina’s round of 274 (-14) was the lowest of the day. It is also the Gamecocks’ lowest round at a regional since shooting 269 in the final round of the 2009 Southeast Regional.
â€¢ The second-place finish is Carolina’s 10th top-five finish this season, which is a school record.
â€¢ As a team, Carolina shot 13-under on the back nine. The four counters combined to shoot 15-under on the back side without a bogey.
â€¢ For the first time this season, the Gamecocks posted four rounds in the 60s.
â€¢ Carolina led the field in par-4 scoring with an average of 3.99 (-1).
â€¢ The Gamecocks played the par 5s in 9-under on Saturday.
â€¢ NeSmith’s 67 (-5) was bogey free.
â€¢ NeSmith, Starke, Murphy and Sturgeon were all bogey free on the back nine.
â€¢ NeSmith’s tie for seventh finish is the 17th of his career, which moves him into a tie for fourth on Carolina’s career top-10 finishes list with George Bryan IV (2006-10)
â€¢ Starke moved into a tie for seventh in career top-10 finishes at Carolina with Carl Paulson (1989-93) with 14.
South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald
“It was very impressive. At the turn we were maybe on the number or just outside the number looking like we might not even qualify. Then a few holes into the back nine we had a chance to win the golf tournament. We just went nuts on the back nine. It was exciting and was some incredible golf. For me as a coach it was just a really fun day for us. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys with the way they played with all that pressure on them. It was just amazing.”
The Gamecocks will open play at the NCAA Championship on May 29. The championship runs through June 3 at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
|SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS|
|12.||Sam Houston State||300||295||288||883||+19|