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March 22, 2016

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GAMECOCK SCORECARDS
Will Starke
Round 1: 79
Round 2: 79
Round 3: 69
To Par: +14
Place: T59th
Matt NeSmith
Round 1: 71
Round 2: 71
Round 3: 71
To Par: E
Place: T5th
Scott Stevens
Round 1: 71
Round 2: 73
Round 3: 71
To Par: +2
Place: T10th
Keenan Huskey
Round 1: 74
Round 2: 75
Round 3: 71
To Par: +7
Place: T25th
Will Miles
Round 1: 78
Round 2: 79
Round 3: 78
To Par: +22
Place: T72nd
Team Standings
Pos. Team R1 R2 R3 Total
1. Texas 287 287 285 855 (+3)
2. LSU 286 295 279 860 (+8)
T3. Oklahoma State 295 288 288 871 (+19)
T3. Texas A&M 294 290 287 871 (+19)
T5. Illinois 295 295 284 874 (+22)
T5. South Carolina 294 298 282 874 (+22)
7. Houston 301 289 288 878 (+26)
T8. USF 296 286 295 880 (+28)
T8. Arkansas 298 297 285 880 (+28)
10. Clemson 293 295 293 881 (+29)
11. Florida State 288 304 290 882 (+30)
12. Kent State 294 302 294 890 (+38)
13. Memphis 289 316 295 900 (+48)
14. Georgia Tech 307 293 306 906 (+54)
15. Florida 309 302 306 909 (+57)
Tournament Quick Facts

Dates: March 21-22

Location: Palm City, Fla.

Course: Floridian National Golf Club

Par: 71

Yards: 6,999

PALM CITY, Fla. — A strong final day lifted the University of South Carolina Men’s Golf team to a fifth-place finish at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational, which wrapped up Tuesday at Floridian National Golf Club. The Gamecocks shot 282 (-2) on the last day to finish with a three-round total of 874 (+22). They shared the fifth position with Illinois.

Individually, senior Matt NeSmith paced the Gamecocks with a total score of 213 (E) after shooting a 71 (E) in each of his three rounds. NeSmith finished tied for fifth place, two shots back of medalist Zach Wright of LSU, who beat Chandler Phillips of Texas A&M in a one-hole playoff. Texas won the team tournament with a score of 855 (+3).

The tournament was the strongest event of the regular season for the Gamecocks, with all 15 teams ranking in Golfstat’s national top-50 and 30 members of the individual top-100 in attendance. South Carolina stood tall against the stiff competition, especially on Tuesday, when the Gamecocks were one of just two teams to turn in an under-par score.

Senior Will Starke was the top Gamecock on Tuesday, shooting a team-best 69 (-2). The Byron Nelson Award candidate tied for 59th at the tournament with an overall score of 227 (+14). One year after matching a Carolina record with a 63 in his final round at the Valspar, Starke went low again, with five birdies on his scorecard.

NeSmith was steady again on Tuesday and like Starke, he posted five birdies. The senior was coming off two consecutive medalist victories for the Gamecocks and netted his fourth consecutive top-10 finish to close the tournament. He also tied for first among the Ben Hogan Award candidates who were in the Valspar field.

Scott Stevens finished in the top-10 for the third consecutive tournament with a cumulative score of 215 (+2) that was good for a share of 10th-place. The freshman matched his low round of the event on Tuesday, posting a 71 (E) that included three birdies.

Keenan Huskey also shot 71 (E) on Tuesday and tied for 25th position with a three-day total of 220 (+7). Like the rest of the Gamecocks, Huskey started on the 10th hole, and he came out on fire, with three birdies in his first six holes. He ended the day with four total birdies after recording an eagle on the par-4 6th hole on Monday.

Freshman Will Miles finished the event tied for 72nd place, at 235 (+22). Miles ended his tournament with a 78 (+7) on Tuesday that featured a pair of birdies.

Quoting Coach Bill McDonald

“I’m really proud of how the team responded to yesterday’s tough day and came out really focused this morning. Our goal was to be low team for the day, and while it looks like we’ll miss that by a little bit, it’s still a very good round. It was good to see Will Starke come back with a good round today. Matt and Scott played really well too. It’s been a good week and a half for us, and I know the guys are ready for a few days off before we try to defend our title at The Hootie.”

Round Changer

Starke’s round of 69 was his third sub-70 round of the spring and a key component of South Carolina’s big day. Fueled by the senior, the Gamecocks moved up four positions on the crowded team leaderboard and posted their best single-round score of the event by 12 strokes.

Notable

  • The top-five finish was the seventh of the season for the Gamecocks and their sixth in a row.
  • NeSmith set a Carolina record with his 23rd career top-10 finish, surpassing Kyle Thompson’s previous Gamecock record of 22.
  • Starke and Huskey each rose by 10 spots on the individual leaderboard Tuesday.
  • The top-10 finish is the fourth for Stevens in his freshman season.
  • NeSmith now leads Carolina with 17 rounds of par or better this season, including 11 of his 12 rounds in the spring.

Up Next for the Gamecocks

The Gamecocks have one final tune-up for postseason play, as they take part in the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate. The tournament will be contested April 3-5 at Bulls Bay Golf Club in Awendaw, S.C.

South Carolina won the event last season by 11 strokes over New Mexico with a team score of 838 (-26). NeSmith took medalist honors, one of his four career collegiate titles, after winning a playoff with New Mexico’s Gavin Green and Coastal Carolina’s Andrew Dorn.

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