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    SEC Golf Tuesday Update - 3/12

    Gamecocks Claim Second At Palmetto Intercollegiate

    AIKEN, S.C. — 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).
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    Razorbacks Win, Five in Top 17

    MURRELLS INLET, S.C. – Led by junior Sebastian Cappelen and sophomore Thomas Sorensen, the No. 17 University of Arkansas men’s golf team took the team title at the General Hackler Invitational at TPC of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, S.C., on Tuesday.

    The Razorback victory is the team’s second of the season and first of the spring.  Arkansas shot a final round score of three-over par to finish the 54-hole tournament at nine-over as a team, matching the score of No. 23 Kent State who tied for the team title with a three-round total of nine over.  No. 29 Tennessee finished third at 16-over par and was followed by the host Coastal Carolina (+28) and East Tennessee State (+34).

    “We had a tough second round yesterday, but I am proud of the way the guys grinded out the win,” Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said.  “When you have five players finish among the top 17 in any tournament, good things are going to happen.  Our goal is to get better every tournament and I think that our team did that over the last two days.”

    While Cappelen and Sorensen led the team after 54 holes, senior Austin Cook posted Arkansas’ low round of the day with a score of two-under par, 70.  The round allowed him to move up five spots on the individual leaderboard into 11th as the Jonesboro, Ark., native was relatively quiet with his three birdies and just one bogey.  Cook played the front nine at two-under and the back at even par.

    Even par kept Cappelen right where he was on the individual standings on Tuesday.  He got off to a tremendous start for the Razorbacks when he was three-under par after six holes, but made the turn at one-under after bogeys on seven and nine.  Back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 had the third-year player over par for the first time, but he responded with back-to-back birdies and closed out the round with a bogey and three pars.  Cappelen completed the competition with a score of two-over par and tied for fifth individually.

    Freshman Taylor Moore also finished Tuesday’s competition at even par, which placed him tied for 14th overall.  Eight straight par putts to open the competition were followed by a birdie on the par four, ninth, and he made the turn and one-under par.  A bogey on No. 10 was followed by two birdie-bogey combos over his final eight holes giving the Edmond, Okla., native his best round of the tournament.

    Sophomore Thomas Sorensen came into Tuesday’s competition with the individual lead, but a difficult stretch over the final three holes dropped him from the lead into a tie for fifth overall.  Sorensen sank a birdie putt on his second hole, but gave the stroke back on No. 3 with a bogey.  He would make the turn at even par after six straight pars.  A bogey on No. 10 put him over par for the first time on the day and he closed the round with two additional bogeys and a double bogey for a final day score of 77, five-over par.

    Junior William Meason finished the competition at six-over par on Tuesday and eight-over for the tournament to tie for 17th.  Meason sank a pair of birdies during his final round and never had a bad hole, but did find himself in eight bogey positions.

    Playing as an individual, freshman Nicolas Echavarria played another very good round with a score of even par.  Beginning on No. 10, Echavarria started with four par putts before a birdie on No. 14.  A bogey and double bogey later, and he was two-over par, but an eagle on No. 18 got him back to even par where he would stay after sinking nine straight pars to wrap up the round.
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    Bulldogs, Ramey Win at Tiger Invitational
     
    Opelika, Ala., – For 54 holes, Mississippi State and junior Chad Ramey dominated the field at the Grand National Golf Course, both capturing a win from the Tiger Invitational.
     
    The No. 41-ranked Bulldogs turned in a 889, 9-over-par to run away with the Tiger Invitational crown on Tuesday, beating out five other ranked squads. State won at Grand National by seven strokes.
     
    MSU lost to No. 21 Auburn at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate, but this time around the Bulldogs caught the Tigers’ tail; two tiger tails to be exact, as State held off Memphis and host Auburn to win at Opelika. The win improved the Maroon and White to 74-25-1 on the year.
     
    “This was a super win for our program,” Coach Clay Homan said of the victory. “When you can go to Auburn and beat them on their home course says a lot about what kind of team we are developing into. I’m so proud of the maturity level of this group, because it wasn’t easy today. We had to battle for 36 holes under some very tough conditions.”
     
    The win from Grand National was the Bulldogs second on the year, giving coach Homan nine career-event wins at MSU. Homan is now in first-place all-time in career wins, passing former coach Greg Martin.
     
    Fulton, Miss., native Ramey picked up his first-career win at MSU with his 3-under par, 213.
     
    “It was just a matter of time before Chad got his much-deserved first win. This will only be the first of many wins for him, because he is a complete player,” Homan said of the junior’s play.
     
    Ramey overtook the top spot after finishing tied for sixth on Monday, but the Bulldog righty climbed up the leader board on Tuesday to capture his first tournament win. The junior knocked in 13 birdies on his way to victory.
     
    Fellow juniors Joe Sakulpolphaisan and Axel Boasson both posted a top-15 performance. Sakulpolphaisan has a team leading seven top-25 finishes on the year after his 8-over-par, 224 14th-place performance. Boasson turned in a 7-over-par, 223 to finish with a 10th-place tie.
     
    Rounding out the Maroon and White scoring from the Tiger Invitational was senior Robi Calvesbert and sophomore Fletcher Johnson. Calvesbert turned in a 13-over-par, 229 from Opelika to finish tied for 35th. The Tupelo, Miss., native Johnson fired off a 24-over-par, 240 at the Grand National course, finishing toed for 71 overall.
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    Wildcats Finish Tied for Fifth at Tiger Invite after Strong Final Day

    Opelika, Ala. – A strong final day for the University of Kentucky men’s golf team saw them post their best finish of the spring, tying for fifth at the Tiger Invitational at the Grand National, Lake Course in Opelika, Ala. The Wildcats tied for the lowest score over the 36 holes on Tuesday, carding back-to-back rounds of 9-over-par, 297 to finish 37-over for the tournament. UK began the day in 12th out of the 15-team field before jumping seven spots on the final day.

    “This team had a character test today and passed it with excellence,” head coach Brian Craig said. “After a horrendous first round, we bounced back very admirably on an extremely difficult golf course. We made progress this week and I could not be prouder of my guys.”

    Junior Stephen Powers recorded his second straight top-10 finish, placing tied for sixth at 6-over-par. Powers, who entered the day at 5-over, posted three birdies in round two on his way to a 1-over scorecard and played even par golf in the final round, which included five birdies to end the tournament at 6-over.

    Junior Ben Stow placed in the top-20 for the second consecutive tournament, finishing tied for 14th at 8-over-par. Stow tallied five birdies in round two, carding a 2-over-par, 74. The Salisbury, England native saved his best round for last charting an even par final 18, including his second eagle of the invitational on the par-5 hole No. 14 to top off his afternoon.

    “Hats off to Stephen Powers and Ben Stow for leading the team this week as well,” Craig added. “They both showed the kind of consistency that this team needs.”

    Junior Cody Martin finished the invitational tied for 35th at 13-over-par. Martin was 3-over in round two and 5-over in the final round to conclude the tournament. Senior Chase Parker was tied for 41st and sophomore Will Bishop was tied for 46th at 14-over and 15-over, respectively. Senior Joseph Barr participated as an individual, finishing 79th.
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