Gamecocks Tee It Up At West Lafayette Regional Monday
May 14, 2017
Low 54: 205 (-5)
Low 18: 64 (-7)
Low 54: 198 (-15)
Low 18: 65 (-6)
Low 54: 209 (-7)
Low 18: 66 (-4)
Low 54: 211 (+1)
Low 18: 69 (-3)
Low 54: 215 (-1)
Low 18: 68 (-3)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Postseason play gets underway Monday for South Carolina men’s golf in the Midwest as the team competes in the NCAA West Lafayette Regional, hosted by Purdue University. The Gamecocks, led by Second Team All-SEC selections Keenan Huskey and Scott Stevens, will be gunning for a spot in the top five and a trip to the program’s fifth-straight NCAA Championship.
Both Huskey and Stevens were key contributors on last season’s squad that finished second at the Tuscaloosa Regional. Huskey placed ninth (-2) and Stevens T-30th (+5) as the team punched its ticket to a fourth consecutive NCAA Championship, a program record.
Freshman Jamie Wilson, sophomore Ryan Stachler and sophomore Will Miles will all be making their NCAA debuts on Monday morning. Carolina will be paired with No. 20 Auburn and Colorado for the first 18 holes tomorrow. Stachler will lead off for the Gamecocks at 8:20 a.m. on hole No. 10 at the Kampen Course.
HISTORY AT NCAA REGIONALS
The Gamecocks are making their 26th trip to NCAA Regionals. Since head coach Bill McDonald’s arrival in 2006-2007, Carolina has missed regionals just one time. A top-five finish at the Kampen Course will be the Gamecocks’ fifth-straight trip to the NCAA Championship, improving a program record which was set last season.
Kyle Thompson, who now plays professionally, is the only player in school history to earn medalist honors at NCAA Regionals. He won individual titles in 1999 and 2001.
Carolina’s lone team title at regionals came in 2007 after the squad shot a course record 44-under at the NCAA West Regional at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. The upset-minded Gamecocks came into the event seeded 11th.
No. 5 Florida is the top seed in Carolina’s regional. Big Ten champion Illinois is seeded second, Mountain West champion UNLV is seeded third and fellow SEC member Auburn is seeded fourth. The Gamecocks have squared off against five opponents in the regional during the regular season, posting a 7-3 record with head-to-head finishes in front of Auburn (3), Augusta (2), Purdue (1) and Richmond (1).
The field is deep in West Lafayette with eight of the 13 teams ranked in the top-50 of the latest Golfstat rankings. Augusta (52) and St. Mary’s (57) are slotted just outside the top-50 in the polls.
RECAPPING THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
South Carolina shot an even par 280 in the third round of the 2017 SEC Championship to climb four spots on the leaderboard and finish fifth in stroke play at 9-over par. The Gamecocks advanced to the first ever SEC Match Play Quarterfinals with their top eight finish in stroke play. Carolina gave No. 6 Florida all it could handle in match play, but fell 3-2. Sophomores Scott Stevens (2&1) and Ryan Stacher (3&2) notched wins for the Gamecocks.
Despite an arm injury, team captain Keenan Huskey T-9th at 3-under in stroke play. The top-10 finish was his sixth of the 2016-17 campaign, marking a new single-season high. Freshman Jamie Wilson finished T-16th at 1-over after shooting a new career 18-hole low 66 in the final round of stroke play.
RECAPPING THE SPRING
The Gamecocks had four top-five finishes in six events during the spring slate, highlighted by the team’s first win of the season at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate March 26-28 in Awendaw, S.C. Carolina, who won the tournament for the third-straight season, shot 844 (-20). Keenan Huskey (T-3rd) and Jamie Wilson (T-5th) paced the Gamecocks with top-five individual finishes.
Huskey led Carolina with a 70.30 18-hole scoring average in the spring. Sophomore Scott Stevens was second on the team with a 71.53 average. The duo combined to shoot 20 rounds in the 60s and 34 rounds (17 each) of par or better during the 2016-17 regular season. Huskey had three top-five finishes, while Stevens had two runner-up medalist showings.
Wilson, who took home SEC Freshman of the Week honors twice, has been in the lineup every tournament this spring. He’s posted a 72.47 scoring average in the team’s six spring events. His 10 rounds of par or better and four rounds in the 60s rank third on the team.
RECAPPING THE FALL
South Carolina finished in the top-five in three of its four fall events. The team took 10th (875, +11) at the Carpet Capital Collegiate on Sept. 9-11, fifth at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate (839, -13) on Sept. 23-25, second at the Camden Collegiate Invitational (859, +19) on Oct. 22-23 and fifth at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic (840, -12) on Nov. 4-6.
Sophomore Scott Stevens and junior Keenan Huskey, Carolina’s two returnees from the team’s magical NCAA run last spring, paced the Gamecocks throughout the fall season. Stevens finished the fall with a 69.58 stroke average, three tiop-10 individual finishes, eight rounds at par or better and six rounds in the 60s. His best individual finish was at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, when he earned runner-up medalist honors after shooting 198 (-15). The low tally was the third-best 54-hole score in program history.
Huskey finished just behind Stevens with a 69.67 stroke average. He finished in the top-20 individually in all four of the team’s events this fall, highlighted by a runner-up medalist finish at the Camden Collegiate Classic. The Greenville, S.C., native, shot in the 60s five times this fall and played eight rounds at par or better. Huskey shot 64 twice this fall, in the second round at the Maui Jim and the second round at Camden. The two 64s tied for the fourth lowest 18-hole scores in program history.
South Carolina finished the fall slate as the only school in the country with two golfers in the top-10 for scoring average. Stevens tied for 6th with his 69.58 stroke average and Huskey tied for ninth with his 69.67 stroke average.
RECAPPING THE 2015-16 SEASON
South Carolina advanced to its fourth straight NCAA Championship after a second place finish at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional behind SEC foe Georgia. At the NCAA Championship, the Gamecocks sat in 14th place heading into the final round of stroke play.
The team finished seventh after shooting a final round 277 (-3) to advance to the match play portion of the event for the first time in school history. The seventh-place finish was the team’s highest ever in stroke play at the NCAA Championship. In match play, the Gamecocks fell to eventual national runner-up Illinois, 4-1. Then-freshman Scott Stevens earned the lone point for the Gamecocks.
Three of the five players from Carolina’s NCAA Championship squad, Sean Kelly, Matt NeSmith and Will Starke, have graduated and moved on to the Canadian PGA Tour. Huskey and Stevens return for the Gamecocks this season. The team’s final Golfstat ranking was 10th, marking the second-straight top-10 finish for the program.
Gamecock head coach Bill McDonald is the winningest coach by tournament victories in school history with 19. 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 latest victory at the 2017 Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate on March 28. It was the team’s first win of the 2016-17 season and its third straight year bringing home the team title at Bulls Bay Golf Club.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
A top five finish in Indiana this week will send Carolina to its fifth consecutive NCAA Championship, adding to a school record set last season. This year’s championship will be played May 26-31 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. with Northern Illinois University as the host school.