March 11, 2016
Low 54: 205
Low 18: 66
Low 54: 203
Low 18: 67
Low 54: 209
Low 18: 65
Low 54: 205
Low 18: 68
Low 54: 208
Low 18: 66
|Sean Kelly (IND.)
Low 54: 218
Low 18: 65
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Men’s Golf team is back in action March 12-13 when they take part in the General Hackler Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Coastal Carolina and Dunes Beach & Golf Club serve as hosts. The event begins with 36 holes starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and it concludes with 18 holes on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
The Gamecocks are one of 15 teams that will take on the Dunes Beach & Golf Club, a 7,370-yard, par-72 layout. Live scoring of all three rounds is available through Golfstat.com.
BREAKING DOWN THE GENERAL HACKLER CHAMPIONSHIP
North Carolina is the highest-ranked team at the General Hackler Championship, coming in at No. 16 in the Golfstat rankings, while the Gamecocks are up three spots to No. 19 after winning the Palmetto Intercollegiate last week. Charleston Southern (49), East Carolina (44), NC State (43), defending champion North Florida (30), Texas A&M (32) and Virginia (24) also head to Myrtle Beach as top-50 squads.
The Gamecocks are making their third appearance at the General Hackler Championship. South Carolina finished sixth in 2004, rallying from 13th heading into the final round. Current Gamecock assistant Alex Hamilton finished tied for 22nd, with Pepperdine winning the tournament.
In 2009, South Carolina placed ninth at the General Hackler, with Mark Silvers III tying for third individually. Wake Forest won the team event by 10 strokes.
RECAPPING THE PALMETTO INTERCOLLEGIATE (MARCH 7-8)
South Carolina won their second consecutive Palmetto Intercollegiate title, finishing with a tournament record score of 821 (-19), 18 shots better than Virginia. The Gamecocks nearly set a school record with their second round, a 266 (-14) that was one shot higher than the program best 18-hole score.
All five Gamecocks finished in the top-10, led by medalist Matt NeSmith. NeSmith birdied the 54th hole to win by one stroke with a score of 203 (-7). It’s his third career tournament title individually.
Will Starke finished third individually, at 205 (-5), while both Will Miles and Scott Stevens tied for sixth, at 209 (-1). Miles shot 66 in the second round and was tied for the individual lead after 36 holes, while Starke also posted a 66 on Monday afternoon. Sophomore Keenan Huskey placed 10th, at 201 (E) to round out the Gamecock lineup.
STARKE GRABS SPOT ON BEN HOGAN AWARD NOMINEE LIST
Senior Will Starke was named to the nominee list for the 2016 Byron Nelson Award on March 9. Starke is one of 10 players eligible for the award, given annually to a graduating senior who excels not only on the golf course but also in the classroom and community. A native of Chapin, S.C., Starke earned All-America honors from PING and Golfweek in 2015 in addition to garnering All-America Scholar laurels from Cleveland Golf/Srixon. He’s a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and a two-time individual tournament medalist.
The Byron Nelson Award is given annually by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Starke is joined on the nominee list by Clemson’s Stephen Behr, Jr., Colorado State’s Dominic Kieffer, UNLV’s AJ McInerney, Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge, Michigan’s Chris O’Neill, Washington’s Jordan Sanders, Louisville’s Robin Sciot-Siegrist and the Illinois duo of Charlie Danielson and Alex Burge.
NeSMITH NAMED SEC MEN’S GOLFER OF THE WEEK
Senior Matt NeSmith was named Southeastern Conference Men’s Golfer of the Week, the league announced March 9. It’s the first SEC weekly honor of the season for NeSmith and the second of his Gamecock career.
NeSmith won the SEC’s top weekly honor after capturing medalist honors at the Palmetto Intercollegiate, held March 7-8 in Aiken, S.C. A product of nearby North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith’s score of 67-67-69=203 (-7) took the top individual spot by one stroke. The tournament victory was NeSmith’s third as a Gamecock.
NESMITH NAMED TO BEN HOGAN AWARD WATCH LIST
Matt NeSmith was named to the 2016 Ben Hogan Award Watch List on Feb. 10. NeSmith is one of 25 candidates for the top award in men’s college golf and the first Gamecock in program history to make the list. Awarded by Colonial Country Club, the Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America, the Ben Hogan Award presented by Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. (Konica Minolta) is issued annually to the top men’s NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the past 12-month period. The list of 10 semifinalists, which could include individuals not on the current list, will be unveiled on Wednesday, April 13. On Tuesday, May 3, that group will be pared down to three finalists. The winner will be crowned on Monday, May 23, prior to the start of the PGA TOUR’s Colonial National Invitation Tournament.
RECAPPING THE ALL-AMERICAN INTERCOLLEGIATE (FEB. 19-21)
South Carolina finished third against one of the strongest fields in the nation at the All-American Intercollegiate in Humble, Texas. The Gamecocks finished the three-day event with a total score of 868 (+4), 13 strokes behind tournament champion Arkansas and 12 shots behind Houston. South Carolina’s best day was Saturday, when they collectively shot 287 (-1).
Senior Matt NeSmith finished second individually, with a score of 210 (-6), three strokes back of medalist honors. NeSmith posted his best 54-hole score and highest individual finish of the season while playing in very tough conditions. His best round came on Sunday, a bogey-free 67 (-5) that included five birdies. He made just one bogey on his final 34 holes. Playing as an individual, freshman Will Miles finished tied for 7th at 214 (-2). Miles shot 71 (-1) on Friday, matching Carolina’s best round of the day, and he equaled NeSmith’s 67 (-5) on Sunday. The round matched his career best and was, along with NeSmith, the lowest round of the day in the entire tournament.
RECAPPING THE SAVANNAH QUARTERS INDIVIDUAL INTERCOLLEGIATE (FEB. 8)
South Carolina sent three golfers to compete as individuals in Savannah, with freshman Will Miles pacing the trio. Miles (+5, 149) tied for 13th, while Ryan Stachler (+12, 156) placed 30th and Alex Handy (+16, 160) tied for 40th. Originally scheduled for 54 holes, the final round was cancelled due to inclement weather.
RECAPPING THE KA’ANAPALI CLASSIC COLLEGIATE INVITATIONAL (NOV. 6-8)
South Carolina took on a strong field and finished in fifth place in their final tournament of the fall, carding a three-day total of 864 (+12), 27 strokes behind tournament champion Oklahoma. Individually, Keenan Huskey led Carolina with a sixth place result with a total score of 210 (-3). His second round score of 69 (-2) was the best round of the event by a Gamecock. Matt NeSmith and Will Starke tied for 36th, at 220 (+7), and freshman Scott Stevens finished 44th, one stroke back of the seniors.
Just one shot behind Stevens was Miles, who finished the tournament tied for 49th. His best round was his last, a one-under-par 70. The highlight of the day came on the 485-yard, par-5 9th hole, where he carded his first eagle of the season.
RECAPPING THE CAMDEN COLLEGIATE INVITATIONAL (OCT. 24-25)
South Carolina captured the Camden Collegiate Invitational for the second year in a row, winning by 25 strokes over Charleston Southern. The host Gamecocks set a school record in the second round with a 15-under 265 to pull away from the field and coasted with a 285 on the final day for their first win of the season. South Carolina’s 2-under 838 marked the first time in 2015-16 it finished a tournament under par. Sophomore Keenan Huskey captured his first medalist honor with a 5-under 205 to edge freshman teammate Will Miles by three strokes. It was Miles’ first career tournament. Freshman Scott Stevens placed in a tie for 10th after shooting a 215 (+5), freshman Ryan Stachler tied for 22nd (+8, 218) and senior Sean Kelly was T-26th (+9, 219). For head coach Bill McDonald, it was his 15th career win at the helm for South Carolina, extending his school record over Puggy Blackmon by six.
RECAPPING THE TAVISTOCK COLLEGIATE INVITE (OCT. 18-20)
Senior Matt NeSmith earned a 16th-place finish (+4, 220) at the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational after carding an even 72 in the tournament’s final round at Isleworth Country Club in Orlando, Fla. It was his third top-20 finish this fall in as many events and the 27th of his career. His 12 birdies over the course of the invitational were second-most in the field. The Gamecocks finished ninth in the event with an overall score of 887 (+23). Illinois (+1, 865) won the Tavistock Invitational after rallying from a 9-stroke deficit in the third round. Sophomore Keenan Huskey also turned in a solid final round, recording a 1-over 73. Huskey finished the event in a tie for 28th (+7, 223). Senior Will Starke earned a 34th-place finish (+8, 224), redshirt senior Sean Kelly recorded a 49th-place finish (+12, 228) and freshman Scott Stevens ended the tournament in a tie for 46th (+11, 227). Stevens’ 3.00 par-3 scoring average for the tourney ranked him third among all competitors.
RECAPPING THE SHOAL CREEK INVITATIONAL (SEPT. 28-29)
Senior Sean Kelly led the Gamecocks with a 2-under 70 on the final day of the Shoal Creek Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., as Carolina finished the tournament in sixth place with a 54-hole total of 876 (+12). The Gamecocks entered the day in a tie for second at 6-over (582) with North Florida and College of Charleston, all seven strokes behind tournament host UAB (-1, 575) after 36 holes. The Blazers ran away with the tournament on the final day, shooting 12-under to win by 15 strokes over North Florida. Kelly shot 2-over for the tournament after carding a pair of 74s in the first two rounds combined with his 70 on the final day and took a tie for 12th place on the individual leaderboard at 218, his eighth career top-20 finish. Classmate Matt NeSmith was the low man for the Gamecocks at the tournament for the second time in a row with a 216 (73-70-73) to finish even and tied for seventh, the 19th top-10 finish of his career.
RECAPPING THE CARPET CAPITAL COLLEGIATE (SEPT. 11-13)
The Gamecocks posted a final-round 296 (+8) at The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face, Ga., to finish in third place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate. South Carolina wrapped up the weekend with a 54-hole total of 880 (+16). Auburn captured the tournament title with a total of 868 (+4) after shooting a 287 (-1) on the final day. Carolina senior Matt NeSmith recorded his 18th career top-10 finish as he tied for seventh with a total of 217 (+1) after shooting a final-round 74 (+2). He tallied a pair of birdies and four bogeys on the afternoon. Freshman Scott Stevens concluded a solid debut for the Gamecocks with a tie for 14th with a total of 221 (+5). Stevens carded a 76, which included one birdie and five bogeys.
HUSKEY STEPPING UP
Sophomore Keenan Huskey showed consistent play in the Gamecocks’ first three tournaments this fall by finishing T-24th, T-26th and T-28th in three events. He took it to another level at the Camden Collegiate Invitational hosted by South Carolina by snatching his first medalist honor with a 5-under 205 to help lead the Gamecocks to their first win this season. The Gamecocks also shot a school-record 265 in the second round with the help of Huskey’s 68. Huskey shot under par each round in collecting the first sub-70 rounds of his career in the Garnet & Black.
MILES MAKES HIS DEBUT
Freshman Will Miles made his debut as a Gamecock at the Camden Collegiate Invitational and finished in sole possession of second place behind sophomore teammate Keenan Huskey. Miles fired a 2-under 208 (70-67-71) for the 54-hole event and earned himself a spot in the lineup for South Carolina’s final tournament of the fall in the process. At the All-American Intercollegiate in Houston, Miles competed as an individual and tied for seventh in the first tournament of the spring. He was tied for the individual lead after 36 holes at the Palmetto Intercollegiate after a career-best 66 in the second round, and he finished that tournament tied for sixth.
Carolina returns seven golfers from last year’s squad, including seniors Matt NeSmith, Will Starke and Sean Kelly. The senior trio has played in a combined 108 tournaments for the Gamecocks during their careers and has recorded 38 top-10 finishes. Starke (second-team PING and Golfweek) and NeSmith (third-team PING and Golfweek) were named All-Americans last season and both earned first-team PING All-Southeast Region and All-SEC honors. They collected spots on the Golfweek Preseason All-America teams this fall with NeSmith landing on the first team.
Seniors Matt NeSmith and Will Starke entered the season with several career school records within reach. The duo sits in spots one and two for career scoring average with NeSmith in the top position at 71.74 and Starke right on his heels at 72.01. Starke ranks third in career top-five finishes with 12, while NeSmith is tied for fourth with 11. Kyle Thompson and David Seawell share the school record with 14. NeSmith now has 21 career top-10 performances after winning the Palmetto Intercollegiate, which ranks second. Thompson holds the Carolina record with 22.
STARKE COMPETES IN EUROPEAN TOUR EVENT
Senior Will Starke competed in his first career European Tour event in late September, the Porsche European Open at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach in Bad Griesbach, Germany. Starke carded a 2-over 73 on his first day followed by a 1-under on the second for a 1-over 143 in two days. He finished in a tie for 100th place.
Gamecock head coach Bill McDonald is the winningest coach by tournament victories in school history with 16. McDonald broke the previous record of nine held by Puggy Blackmon (1995-2007) with Carolina’s win at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in September 2014. McDonald captured a school-record five wins in 2014-15 and snagged his second this year when Carolina repeated as champions of the Palmetto Intercollegiate.
Newcomer Scott Stevens has quickly established himself as a potential fixture in the Gamecocks’ lineup throughout the season having now appeared in South Carolina’s top five for each tournament. He finished in a tie for 14th place in his first tournament, the Carpet Capital Collegiate, and followed with a tie for 20th at the Shoal Creek Invitational. At the Camden Collegiate Invitational, he took home a tie for 10th to mark his first career top-10 finish, and he fired Carolina’s best first round score, a 70, at the Ka`anapali Classic Collegiate Invitational. Stevens is the Gamecocks’ top scorer on par-3s thus far with a 3.10 average and his score has counted in 18 of 21 rounds that he has played as a member of the lineup.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
The Gamecocks leave the state of South Carolina for the first time in over a month when they participate in the Valspar Collegiate Invitational from March 21-22. The tournament will be held at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla.