MILTON, Ga. — The South Carolina men's golf team posted a final-round 286 (+6) to move up three spots to finish tied for 27th at the NCAA Championship on Thursday at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course.
The Gamecocks wrapped up the week in a tie with Kent State with a 54-hole total of 868 (+28), concluding one of its most successful seasons in recent history. South Carolina turned in seven top-three finishes, including a win at the Wendy's Kiawah Classic. The Gamecocks finished runner-up at the SEC Championship and tied for second at the NCAA Columbus Regional to secure a berth to this week's NCAA Championship, the program's first since 2009.
"It was a disappointing week for us overall, but I am proud of the season we had and how hard we fought today," South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. "Matt NeSmith's round was incredible and he continues to amaze me. Dykes Harbin has been a great Gamecock and leader for us, and we will surely miss him. We have made great strides this year as a program, and I hope this experience carries over to next year and beyond."
NeSmith closed with an impressive 4-under 66 on Thursday to lead the Gamecocks, matching the lowest NCAA Championship score in school history. NeSmith vaulted 59 spots up the leaderboard to finish the week in a tie for 38th with a total of 211 (+1), which is the lowest 54-hole NCAA Championship total in school history. A native of North Augusta, S.C., NeSmith caught fire early, making birdies on three of his first four holes. However, he fell back to even par after recording bogey on 14, 16 and 17. He played his best golf of the day on the back nine as he closed out his round with birdies on four of his final six holes and did not record a bogey.
Sophomore Caleb Sturgeon carded the next lowest round of the day for the Gamecocks, shooting a 2-over 72 that included three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey. Sturgeon closed out the week in a tie for 128th with a total of 220 (+10).
Playing in his final tournament in Garnet and Black, Harbin shot a 74 (+4) to finish tied for 116th with a total of 219 (+9). Harbin recorded four birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey on the afternoon.
Freshman Will Starke and sophomore Sean Kelly also shot 74s on Thursday. Starke concluded the week in a tie for 116th with a total of 219 (+9), while Kelly finished 144th with a total of 223 (+13).
California (824), Georgia Tech (830), Alabama (833), Texas (833) and Illinois (835) have all secured spots in the match play portion of the tournament. New Mexico, Texas A&M, UNLV and Arizona State will all participate in a playoff to determine the final three spots for match play.
California's Max Homa won the individual national title with a total of 201 (-9).
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS
T38. Matt NeSmith (3) 70-75-66=211 (+1)
T116. Dykes Harbin (1) 74-71-74=219 (+9)
T116. Will Starke (4) 70-75-74=219 (+9)
T128. Caleb Sturgeon (2) 73-75-72=220 (+10)
T144. Sean Kelly (5) 73-76-74=223 (+13)
1. California 277-272-275=824 (-16)
2. Georgia Tech 274-274-282=830 (-10)
T3. Alabama 275-276-282=833 (-7)
T3. Texas 279-271-283=833 (-7)
5. Illinois 276-281-278=835 (-5)
T6. New Mexico 292-274-276=842 (+2)
T6. Texas A&M 285-275-282=842 (+2)
T6. UNLV 286-284-272=842 (+2)
T6. Arizona State 270-288-284=842 (+2)
10. Arkansas 286-271-286=843 (+3)
T11. Oklahoma 278-284-283=845 (+5)
T11. Florida State 287-277-281=845 (+5)
13. Auburn 292-279-275=846 (+6)
T14. Texas Tech 288-283-276=847 (+7)
T14. Oklahoma State 279-293-275=847 (+7)
T16. Washington 281-283-284=848 (+8)
T16. UCF 287-274-287=848 (+8)
18. North Florida 281-282-286=849 (+9)
T19. TCU 294-272-284=850 (+10)
T19. Georgia 286-283 281=850 (+10)
T19. Tennessee 286-277-287=850 (+10)
22. Coastal Carolina 293-275-283=851 (+11)
T23. LSU 285-282-287=854 (+14)
T23. Southern California 291-278-285=854 (+14)
25. Florida 291-283-283=857 (+17)
26. UCLA 289-281-288=858 (+18)
T27. South Carolina 286-296-286=868 (+28)
T27. Kent State 282-293-293=868 (+28)
29. St. Mary's (CA) 287-294-288=869 (+29)
30. Ball State 290-289-293=872 (+32)
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