Gamecocks Take Third at Loaded Valspar Collegiate Invitational
Carolina, led by its three seniors, finished in front of five top-10 teams
PALM CITY, Fla. – South Carolina finished third in a stacked, 15-team field on Tuesday at the 2019 Valspar Collegiate Invitational. With inclement weather forecasted for today, the team’s squeezed in the final 36 holes on Monday, finishing up last night. Results were not final until this morning as three players (two from Duke, one from USF) had to come back to the course to finish their rounds. Carolina finished with a 54-hole total of 837 (-15).
“I’m really proud of the guys and their effort this week,” said head coach Bill McDonald. “It’s really gratifying to have my three seniors all finish in the top-15 in such a strong field. Ryan (Stachler) looked great all three rounds and his game just continues to impress me. I thought we ran out of gas and got a little sloppy in the afternoon/evening round yesterday, but overall it was a really solid showing for our team. The strength of the field this week, the windy conditions, and the golf course should give the guys the confidence that they can compete with the best teams in the country from here on out.”
The Gamecocks were one shot off the lead at 19-under, trailing No. 6 Wake Forest after the second round early yesterday afternoon, after shooting the fourth-best score in the field with a 271 (-13). Scoring conditions got tougher as the day wore on and Carolina shot 289 (+5) in the final round falling back one spot to third. The Demon Deacons were one of three teams to post a red number in the final round, winning with a final 54-hole tally of 25-under. No. 13 Auburn finished second at 19-under for the tournament with a field best 276 (-8) in round three.
Carolina, who came into the tournament ranked 31st in the latest Golfstat Team Rankings, finished in front of 10 teams ahead of them in the rankings. Five of those teams are ranked in the top-10: defending NCAA Champion and top-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Texas and No. 9 Georgia Tech.
The Gamecocks were led again this week at the Floridan by their senior trio of Ryan Stachler (T-5th), Will Miles (T-14th) and Scott Stevens (T-14th). Stachler shot 206 (-7) en route to his third-straight top-15 finish to start the spring (T-12th at All-American Intercollegiate on Feb. 19 and T-2nd at Palmetto Intercollegiate on March 12). He shot 68 (-3) in the second round and tallied an even-par 71 in round three. The Alpharetta, Ga., native had a team-low four bogeys in 36 holes on Monday to go alongside seven birdies.
After starting with a double-bogey in the second round on the par-4 first hole, Miles went 5-under the rest of the way with six birdies en route to a 3-under 68. He followed that up with a 72 (+1) in the final round. Miles was even with two holes to play but was hurt by a double on the par-4 17th hole. He finished strong however with a birdie on 18.
Stevens carded the low 18-hole score of the tournament for the Gamecocks in the second round with a lights-out 66 (-55). The Chattanooga, Tenn., native was even through five holes, then went bogey free over his final 13 with five birdies including three-straight red numbers on 13, 14 and 15. Stevens was 4-over in the final round through 13 holes, but closed strong with three birdies to get into the clubhouse with a 1-over, 72. Stevens, a four-year starter who has played in every tournament the past four seasons, leads the team with six top-20 finishes in seven events during the 2018-19 season. He led the team with 17 birdies (T-3rd in the field) this week and blew-away the field finishing with a par-4 scoring average of 3.67 (-9), four strokes ahead of anyone else.
Junior Caleb Proveaux finished T-55th at 5-over (220). The Lexington, S.C., native, shot 74 (+3) in round two and 73 (+2) in round three. Fellow junior Jamie Wilson finished T-72nd at 11-over (224). The Awendaw, S.C., native, had his best score of the tournament with a 69 (-2) in the second round on Monday. He followed that with a 76 (+5) in the final round later in the day.
In five Valspar Collegiate Invitational appearances under McDonald since 2015, this marks Carolina’s third top-five finish and a new 54-hole low at the event. The previous low came when the team shot 841 (-17) en route to a third-place finish in 2015.
FINAL TEAM SCOREBOARD – 2019 VALSPAR COLLEGIATE INVITATIONAL
1. Wake Forest – 827 (-25)
2. Auburn – 833 (-19)
3. South Carolina – 837 (-15)
4. Oklahoma State – 838 (-14)
5. Vanderbilt – 841 (-11)
6. Texas A&M – 846 (-6)
T-7. Texas – 847 (-5)
T-7. Duke – 847 (-5)
T-9. Florida State – 848 (-4)
T-9. Baylor – 848 (-4)
11. LSU – 853 (+1)
12. Gerogia Tech – 855 (+3)
13. Houston – 863 (+11)
14. Arkansas – 869 (+17)
15. South Florida – 883 (+31)
FINAL GAMECOCK LEADERBOARD – 2019 VALSPAR COLLEGIATE INVITATIONAL
T-5. Ryan Stachler – 206 (-7)
T-14. Will Miles – 208 (-5)
T-14. Scott Stevens – 208 (-5)
T-55. Caleb Proveaux – 220 (+7)
T-72. Jamie Wilson – 224 (+11)