Carolina looking to earn second-straight NCAA Championship berth
Pictures from South Carolina's run at the 2016 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional (Photos by Todd Drexler)
Photos from the 2016 SEC Championship (Courtesy SEC)
South Carolina at Fourth Round of NCAA Championship - 6/1/15
South Carolina at First Round of NCAA Championship - 5/29/15
South Carolina at Final Round of NCAA Bremerton Regional - 5/16/15
The Gamecocks rose to new heights in Hamilton's first year in Columbia in 2013-14. Carolina won three tournament titles, finished with the second lowest scoring average in school history (287.46) and tied for the second most top-five finishes in a season in school history with nine. Carolina recorded its second-highest finish at the NCAA Championship, claiming ninth at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. The Gamecocks fell one stroke short of being in a three-team playoff for the eighth and final spot in match play. In its three tournament wins, South Carolina won by an average of 21.67 strokes, winning the Badger Invitational by 24 strokes, the Kiawah Classic by 22 shots and the Seahawk Intercollegiate by 19. Individually, two Gamecocks won medalist honors, as Caleb Sturgeon took home the Badger Invitational title and Will Starke won the Seahawk Intercollegiate. Matt NeSmith earned second-team All-SEC and first-team PING All-Southeast Region honors, while Will Murphy earned All-America honors with his tie for 15th finish at the NCAA Championship.
In Hamilton's second year in 2014-15, Carolina turned in one of the greatest seasons in school history, winning a school-record five tournament titles, recording a school-record 10 top-five finishes and shattering the school record for team scoring average in a season by more than four strokes (282.85). The Gamecocks were ranked No. 6 in the final Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and No. 7 in the final Golfstat Relative Rankings. Carolina finished runner-up at the NCAA Bremerton Regional to earn the program's third-straight trip to the NCAA Championship. Matt NeSmith became just the second Gamecock to claim medalist honors at the SEC Championship as he won by six strokes with a school-record total of 196 (-14). Will Starke (second team) and NeSmith (third team) were All-American selections by Golfweek and PING and both golfers earned first-team All-SEC and PING All-Southeast Region honors.
While at Mercer, Hamilton's responsibilities included assisting with course management, practice instruction, day-to-day operations and recruiting. Prior to joining Mercer's staff, Hamilton served as a sales consultant for Dynasplint Systems, INC.
Hamilton brought a wealth of collegiate and professional golf experience to Columbia. He was a second-team All-SEC selection for the Gamecocks in 2004 after posting a scoring average of 73.34 and recording four top-10 finishes, including a tie for fifth showing at the SEC Championship. He also won the 2004 South Carolina Amateur Championship. Off the course Hamilton was a standout in the classroom as he was a two-time Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll all four years.
After graduating from South Carolina in 2005 with bachelor degrees in Economics and Real Estate, Hamilton spent seven years playing in the professional ranks, competing on the eGolf Professional Tour, the NGA Hooters Tour, the Nationwide Tour and the PGA Tour. He captured two tournament titles on the eGolf Tour and finished in the top-10 on three occasions on the NGA Hooters Tour. He also played in the PGA Tour's McGladrey Classic and Greenbrier Classic in 2010.
During his high school career, Hamilton lettered four years at South Aiken High School and earned all-region and all-state honors his junior and senior years.
A native of Aiken, S.C., Hamilton and his family have long running ties to the University of South Carolina. His father, Jim, was a member of the Gamecock golf team from 1968-72, serving as captain his junior and senior years. His mother, Pam, graduated from South Carolina in 1975. Hamilton's wife, Kristin, also has SEC ties, as she received her bachelor's (2006) and master's (2009) degrees from the University of Florida.