AIKEN, SC March 12, 2013 — The South Carolina men’s golf team was in contention throughout the final round on Tuesday at the Palmetto Intercollegiate but it came up just short down the stretch to finish runner-up for the second straight week with a total of 863 (+23).
The Gamecocks, who posted a 293 (+13) on Tuesday, finished seven strokes back of tournament champion Augusta State. The Jaguars turned in a final-round 282 (+2) to come back from four strokes down and win the title with a total of 856 (+16). South Carolina has now finished first, third, second and second in its last four tournaments. It marks the first time the Gamecocks have recorded four straight top-three finishes since finishing third or better in six straight events during the spring schedule of 1999.
“We have to figure out how to not try so hard to win a golf tournament,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “That’s the hump we have to get over right now. To have four top-three finishes in a row with the schedule we are playing is pretty strong. I’m not disappointed in second. I really think we’ve got a good group. Hats off to Augusta State. They played great today in some tough conditions.”
Coming off a tie for 10th finish a week ago at the USF Invitational, Gamecock freshman Matt NeSmith continued his solid play this week as he shot a final-round 72 (+2) to finish in a tie for third with a career-low 54-hole total of 209 (-1), which matches the sixth-best total for a freshman all-time at South Carolina. NeSmith finished three strokes back of USC Aiken’s Matt Atkins, who won medalist honors with a total of 206 (-4).
“Matt started looking really good in Tampa last week,” McDonald said. “This is one of his favorite golf courses. He’s grown up playing here. I think it’s just really good for him to get in contention and feel that combination of what he can do individually and the team having the chance to win. That’s always good.”
Sophomore Caleb Sturgeon also played solid golf all three rounds as he posted a 72 (+2) on Tuesday to finish 10th with a total of 213 (+3). A native of Laurens, S.C., Sturgeon has five top-20 finishes on the season, including three in the top 10.
Junior Caulder Moore recorded his best finish at a team event this season as he tied for 27th with a total of 222 (+12) after shooting a final-round 76 (+6).
Sophomore Will Murphy and senior Dykes Harbin both finished in a tie for 36th with a total of 224 (+14). Murphy carded the third best round of the day for the Gamecocks, shooting a 73 (+3), while Harbin turned in a 77 (+7).
The Gamecocks finished one stroke ahead of rival Clemson and North Carolina State. The Tigers and Wolfpack tied for third with a total of 864 (+24). Liberty rounded out the top five with a total of 868 (+28).
South Carolina will have next week off before returning to action on March 24 in the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate. The 54-hole event will be held at Bulls Bay Golf Club in Awendaw, S.C.
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS
T3. Matt NeSmith 68-69-72=209 (-1)
10. Caleb Sturgeon 71-70-72=213 (+3)
T27. Caulder Moore 75-71-76=222 (+12)
T36. Dykes Harbin 74-73-77=224 (+14)
T36. Will Murphy 74-77-73=224 (+14)
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Augusta State U. 284-290-282=856 (+16)
2. South Carolina 287-283-293=863 (+23)
T3. North Carolina State 284-287-293=864 (+24)
T3. Clemson University 285-292-287=864 (+24)
5. Liberty University 288-289-291=868 (+28)
6. Virginia, U. of 291-283-299=873 (+33)
7. Georgia State Univ. 294-290-294=878 (+38)
8. South Carolina-Aiken 288-292-300=880 (+40)
9. Elon University 295-296-301=892 (+52)
10. Nebraska 305-294-296=895 (+55)
11. Pennsylvania, U. of 297-294-306=897 (+57)
T12. Furman University 295-299-306=900 (+60)
T12. Akron, U. of 298-295-307=900 (+60)
14. Western Carolina U. 296-298-310=904 (+64)
15. Maryland, U. of 303-296-309=908 (+68)
16. Presbyterian College 296-304-313=913 (+73)
17. Wofford College 300-312-303=915 (+75)
18. Francis Marion U. 303-307-308=918 (+78)