Gamecocks Tied for 14th After First Round of NCAA Championship - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Gamecocks Tied for 14th After First Round of NCAA Championship

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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 NCAA.com.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS

T33. Matt NeSmith (3)               70 (E)

T33. Will Starke (4)                70 (E)

T95. Caleb Sturgeon (2)             73 (+3)

T95. Sean Kelly (5)                 73 (+3)

T113. Dykes Harbin (1)              74 (+4)

 

TEAM STANDINGS

1. Arizona State                    270 (-10)

2. Georgia Tech                     274 (-6)

3. Alabama                    275 (-5)

4. Illinois                         276 (-4)

5. California                       277 (-3)

6. Oklahoma                         278 (-2)

T7. Texas                     279 (-1)

T7. Oklahoma State                  279 (-1)

T9. Washington                      281 (+1)

T9. North Florida                   281 (+1)

11. Kent State                      282 (+2)

T12. Texas A&M                285 (+5)

T12. LSU                      285 (+5)

T14. Arkansas                       286 (+6)

T14. South Carolina                 286 (+6)

T14. Tennessee                      286 (+6)

T14. UNLV                     286 (+6)

T14. Georgia                        286 (+6)

T19. St. Mary's (CA)                287 (+7)

T19. UCF                      287 (+7)

T19. Florida State                  287 (+7)

22. Texas Tech                      288 (+8)

23. UCLA                      289 (+9)

24. Ball State                      290 (+10)

T25. Florida                        291 (+11)

T25. Southern California                  291 (+11)

T27. New Mexico               292 (+12)

T27. Auburn                         292 (+12)

29. Coastal Carolina                293 (+13)

30. TCU                       294 (+14)

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