Gamecocks Tied for 14th After First Round of NCAA Championship

Gamecocks Tied for 14th After First Round of NCAA Championship (Image 1)

MILTON, Ga. — Led by a pair of even-par 70s from the
freshman duo of Matt NeSmith and Will Starke, the 20th-ranked South Carolina
men's golf team posted a 6-over 286 on Tuesday to open play at the NCAA
Championship at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course.


The Gamecocks remain firmly in the mix to secure one of
the eight spots available for match play as they finished the day in a five-way
tie for 14th place, just seven shots out of eighth place. South Carolina has
two more rounds of stroke play left to work its way up the leaderboard before
the field is cut to eight teams for match play.


“We didn't have our best day, but overall I thought the
guys looked pretty good,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “I
didn't see a whole lot of putts being made, but we struck the ball well. If we
can get our putters hot tomorrow, I believe we can have a great round and get
back in this thing.”


Arizona State sits atop the leaderboard after shooting a
10-under 270. Host Georgia Tech is in second with a total of 274, while Alabama
(275), Illinois (276), California (277), Oklahoma (278), Texas (279) and
Oklahoma State (279) round out the top eight.


Individually, NeSmith and Starke are in a tie for 33rd,
nine strokes back of Arizona State's Jon Rahm for the tournament lead. Rahm
fired a 9-under 61, which was one stroke off the NCAA Championship record.


The Gamecocks began the round on the 10th hole, and
NeSmith had an up and down front nine as he bogeyed the 10th to begin the day.
He got the stroke back with a birdie on the par-5 12th but tallied bogeys on
holes 14 and 17 to make the turn at 2-over. He made a move toward red numbers
on the back side with back-to-back birdies on holes three and four but he made
five straight pars to close out his round to remain at even.


Starke continued his solid play from the Columbus
regional and found red numbers early in his round as he sank a birdie putt on
the par-3 13th to get to 1-under. He gave a stroke back right before the turn
with a bogey on No. 17 to shoot an even-par 35 on the front side. After three
straight pars to begin the back nine, he birdied No. 4 but gave the stroke
right back with a bogey on the fifth. He then made four consecutive pars to
wrap up his round.


Sophomores Caleb Sturgeon and Sean Kelly each carded a
3-over 73 to finish the day in tie for 95th. Sturgeon recorded three birdies
and six bogeys on the afternoon, while Kelly tallied three birdies, four bogeys
and a double bogey.


Senior Dykes Harbin is in a tie for 113th after posting a
4-over 74 on Tuesday that included four bogeys.


The Gamecocks will tee off in the second round on
Wednesday at 12:40 p.m. and will be paired with Texas A&M and Saint Mary's.
Live scoring will be available at



T33. Matt NeSmith (3)               70

T33. Will Starke (4)                70

T95. Caleb Sturgeon (2)             73

T95. Sean Kelly (5)                 73

T113. Dykes Harbin (1)              74



1. Arizona State                    270

2. Georgia Tech                     274

3. Alabama                    275

4. Illinois                         276

5. California                       277

6. Oklahoma                         278

T7. Texas                     279

T7. Oklahoma State                  279

T9. Washington                      281

T9. North Florida                   281

11. Kent State                      282

T12. Texas A&M                285

T12. LSU                      285

T14. Arkansas                       286

T14. South Carolina                 286

T14. Tennessee                      286

T14. UNLV                     286

T14. Georgia                        286

T19. St. Mary's (CA)                287

T19. UCF                      287

T19. Florida State                  287

22. Texas Tech                      288

23. UCLA                      289

24. Ball State                      290

T25. Florida                        291

T25. Southern California                  291

T27. New Mexico               292

T27. Auburn                         292

29. Coastal Carolina                293

30. TCU                       294

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