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No. 19 South Carolina Set to Compete in Augusta
Men's Golf  . 

No. 19 South Carolina Set to Compete in Augusta

Gamecocks tee off at 8:30 a.m. ET on Saturday at Forest Hills Golf Club

AUGUSTA, Ga. — No. 19 South Carolina is back on the course this weekend at the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational. The two-day tournament gets underway on Saturday, as teams will play 36 holes with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. ET.
“The team is in really good shape obviously with two wins and a top-three finish in a decent field down at The Floridian,” said assistant coach Ben Dietrich. “The guys are really sharp, and they’ve stayed focused in practice the last two weeks. Coach (McDonald) and I have been really emphasizing not to feel the hype because there’s still a lot of work left to be done.”
In the team’s last three outings, the Gamecocks are a combined 64-under with a team scoring average of 276.89, 165 birdies and seven eagles. They’ve climbed 20 spots in the Golfstat Team Rankings since the beginning of March.
Carolina will send out the same lineup of seniors Scott Stevens, Will Miles and Ryan Stachler with juniors Caleb Proveaux and Jamie Wilson anchoring the four and five positions. Stachler has three consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to the team’s historic win at the Palmetto Intercollegiate (March 11-12), while Stevens and Miles have three-straight top-20s. Miles was medalist at Palmetto Golf Club for his first collegiate win after shooting a career-best 197 (-13).
This year’s medalist at the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational earns an exemption to play in the 2020 Valspar Championship on the PGA TOUR in Palm Harbor, Fla. next spring.  
Carolina will be one of four top-25 teams in the field this week alongside No. 3 Wake Forest, No. 7 Texas and No. 23 Illinois. The Gamecocks will be paired with the Demon Deacons and No. 37 Arkansas for the first two rounds on Saturday beginning on holes five through eight.
Located just down the road from Augusta National Golf Club, the long-standing event helps kickoff Masters week which begins with Monday’s practice round.

Established in 1926, Augusta University’s Forest Hills is a much-loved staple within the Augusta golf community. This 18-hole course holds remarkable history from Bobby Jones beginning his 1930 Grand Slam of Golf at Forest Hills in the Southeastern Open to college events where future greats like Phil Mickelson (1989), Davis Love III (1981-82) and others have competed. Forest Hills is home to the men’s and women’s Jaguar golf teams. The men won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2010 and 2011.  
The course was originally designed by world renowned course architect Donald Ross, but it was renovated by the Arnold Palmer Company in 2004. Forest Hills is repeatedly named “Best Public Course” by Augusta Magazine and offers traditional Southern topography with level, rolling fairways surrounded by magnificent trees.

Founded in 1979, this marks the 41st edition of the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational presented by Valspar. A women’s event, the Valspar Augusta Invitational, was added in 2005. PGA TOUR players that have competed in the tournament over the years include Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Chris Kirk, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Beau Hossler.
Under McDonald, Carolina has competed in the event seven times with a pair of top-five finishes. Last season, the Gamecocks finished seventh with a 54-hole total of 862 (-2). Carolina was paced by All-American Keenan Huskey, who T-9th at 4-under (212). Stevens T-17th at 2-under and Miles T-25th after shooting even par.  

Five teams in the field this week are slotted in the top-50 of the Golfstat Team Rankings. The Gamecocks will have a chance to pick up a quality SEC victory in competing against No. 37 Arkansas.
Here’s the full field and where the teams stack up rankings wise on Golfstat:
Augusta (121)
Air Force (217)
Arkansas (37)
Georgia State (150)
Houston (93)
Illinois (23)
Mercer (110)
Northern Illinois (120)  
Notre Dame (65)
South Carolina (19)
Texas (7)
UCF (76)
USC-Aiken (*24)
Virginia Tech (100)
Wake Forest (3)
*NCAA Division II Ranking

Gamecock head coach Bill McDonald is the winningest coach by tournament victories in school history with 23 wins, two of which have come during the 2018-19 season. 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. His squad captured a school-record five wins during the 2014-15 season.
The Gamecocks will finish the regular season at the Southern Intercollegiate on Monday, April 15. It’s a one day event at Athens Country Club as teams will play 36 holes to determine a team and individual champion.