April 6, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- South Carolina freshman Matt NeSmith fired a career-low 67 (-5) in the first round and a 73 (+1) in the second round on Saturday to move into a tie for the lead at the Insperity Augusta State Invitational at Forest Hills Golf Club.
NeSmith, who entered the tournament with three straight top-10 finishes, is tied atop the leaderboard with Augusta State's Derek Chang and Robin Petersson and UCF's Greg Eason with a total of 140 (-4). As a team, the Gamecocks posted rounds of 286 (-2) and 297 (+9) to finish the afternoon in a tie for fourth place with a total of 583 (+7). Carolina is just seven shots back of tournament leader Augusta State. The Jaguars shot rounds of 283 (-5) and 293 (+5) to take the lead with a total of 576 (E).
"We played well overall today," South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. "Matt really looked good in the morning round. I thought we got a little impatient in the afternoon round and unfortunately gave a few shots back to the field. We are looking forward to the challenge tomorrow."
A native of North Augusta, Ga., NeSmith played near flawless golf in the opening round. With the shotgun start, he began the day on the 11th hole and tallied birdies on the 14th and 17th holes before making back-to-back birdies on the first and second holes. He got as low as 6-under on the morning with birdies on the sixth and ninth holes. His only blemish on the scorecard was a bogey on the par-4 10th to close out the round. NeSmith kept the momentum going into the second round as he was 2-under through his first eight holes but he played the final 10 holes at three over to cap the day with a 73 (+1).
Playing in his first team event since the fall, sophomore Sean Kelly played his way into contention for a top-20 finish. Kelly carded a season-low 70 (-2) to open the day and followed it up with a 77 (+5) to wrap up the afternoon in a tie for 23rd with a total of 147 (+3). He opened the first round on the 11th hole and was 3-over through his first six holes. However, he bounced back nicely to play his final 12 holes at 5-under. Kelly had an up and down second round that included eight bogeys and three birdies.
Sophomore Caleb Sturgeon is just three strokes out of the top 20 in a tie for 32nd with a total of 149 (+5). Sturgeon turned in solid rounds of 75 (+3) and 74 (+2) to move into position to play for his sixth top-20 finish of the year.
Senior Dykes Harbin isn't far behind as he finished the day in a tie for 38th with a total of 150 (+6). Harbin, who is playing in his hometown, turned in rounds of 74 (+2) and 76 (+4). Freshman Will Starke is in a tie for 58th with a total of 154 (+10). After shooting an 80 (+8) in the opening round, Starke rebounded to post a 2-over 74 in the afternoon.
Texas is in second place with a total of 578 (+2). Georgia is in third with a total of 580 (+4), and Clemson is tied with the Gamecocks for fourth place with a score of 583 (+7).
The Gamecocks will begin teeing off in the final round on Sunday at 9:20 a.m. off the first hole and will be paired with rival Clemson and Virginia Tech. Live scoring will be available through Golfstat.
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS T1. Matt NeSmith (3) 67-73=140 (-4) T23. Sean Kelly (4) 70-77=147 (+3) T32. Caleb Sturgeon (2) 75-74=149 (+5) T38. Dykes Harbin (1) 74-76=150 (+6) T58. Will Starke (5) 80-74=154 (+10)
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