North Augusta's Matt NeSmith is trying to cap off his amazing freshman season with a national championship. He and the Gamecocks are set to begin play at the NCAA Division 1 Men's Golf Championship Tuesday at Atlanta.
NeSmith played a big part in getting the Gamecocks through the Columbus regional. NeSmith, the SEC Freshman of the Year, made a charge up
the leaderboard to lead the way on Saturday. The North Augusta, S.C., native
fired a 3-under 68 to climb 14 spots to finish in a tie for second with a total
of 214 (+1). NeSmith now has seven top-10 finishes on the season, which moves
him into a tie with Eirik Johansen, Kyle Thompson and David Seawell for the
second most in a single season in school history. He trails only Fred
Wadsworth, who recorded nine top-10 finishes in the 1983-84 season. New
Mexico's James Erkenbeck won medalist honors with a total of 210 (-3).
After beginning the round with three straight pars,
NeSmith caught fire to birdie three of his next four holes to get to 3-under.
He bogeyed the par-3 eighth to drop back to 2-under but gained the stroke back
with a birdie on the 10th. He got to as low as 4-under on the day with a birdie
on No. 14 before bogeying the 15th and 17th holes. However, he closed things
out with his sixth birdie of the day on No. 18 to wrap up the round at 3-under.
Another former local star plays for the Gamecocks as well, Westside's Dykes Harbin. Harbin finished tied for 43rd in Columbus.