April 25, 2018
Men's Golf at 2018 SEC Championship
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- South Carolina wrapped up day one of the 2018 SEC Men’s Golf Championship on Wednesday evening at Sea Island Golf Club, shooting a first round 288 (+8) in windy conditions at the seaside course. The Gamecocks are tied with Ole Miss for eighth in the team standings, right at the cutline for SEC Match Play on Saturday.
It was a long day for the Gamecocks that began with an early morning practice round. Carolina then teed off at 1:45 ET with Tennessee and Missouri in the opening round.
Senior Ben Dietrich, playing in the four hole in the lineup, had the low round of the day for the Gamecocks. The Bluffton, S.C., native carded an even par 70 and sits T-11th. Dietrich played today for the first time since the Valspar Collegiate Invitational (March 18-20). He shot a pair of even pair 35s today with a pair of birdies on the front nine and one birdie on the backside.
Junior Will Miles is also in the top-20 individually (T-18th). He carded a 1-over 71 in the opening round thanks to a team-best four birdies. All four of the Hilton Head Island, S.C., native’s red numbers came on the front nine. He had a stretch of three birdies in four holes, including a birdie to close his round on the par-4 ninth.
Freshman Andrew Spiegler had a solid debut in his first ever SEC Championship, carding a 3-over 73 to sit in a tie for 36th. The Abingdon, Va., native shot even par on the back nine to start the day and a 3-over 38 over his final nine holes. He’s T-6th in the field with 14 pars.
Junior All-SEC performer Scott Stevens (T-44th) was the other counting score in Wednesday’s first round, shooting a 4-over 74. A tough stretch of three consecutive bogeys early in his final nine holes hurt his overall score. Senior All-American Keenan Huskey (T-53rd) was unable to get it going today as he shot a 75 (+5). The Greenville, S.C., native has finished in the top-10 in two of his last three events and finished T-9th in last year’s stroke play portion of the 2017 NCAA Championship.
No. 4 Vanderbilt has the lead over the rest of the field as it shot a 4-under 276. They were the only team on day one to card a team score under par. No. 9 Auburn and Tennessee are T-2nd at even par. Scoring was hard to come by Wednesday with tough pin placements in breezy conditions. The talented, deep field is bundled up with 10 teams within 10 shots of each other heading into Thursday’s second round.
QUOTING COACH Bill McDonald
"Well, I think you have to look at our fifth-year senior Ben Dietrich. He fought his tail off and gave us an even par round. Freshman Andrew Spiegler played pretty well. He was 3-over, but it could have been a bit better. Will Miles hung in there and made a birdie coming in and two or three more birdies on his back nine. Keenan (Huskey) and Scott (Stevens) didn’t play their best, but if you told me we’d be in this position with them not having a very good day, I think I’d take that at the end of the today. Looking forward to tomorrow.
ROUND CHANGER Ben Dietrich
Dietrich shot his sixth round of par or better during the 2017-18 season on Wednesday at Sea Island’s Seaside Course. It marked the 24th par or better round of his career. The senior, who has been a leader for the Gamecocks on and off the golf course the past two seasons, is playing in his second career SEC Championship. He last played in the conference tournament as a freshman in 2014.
The Gamecocks will be paired with Missouri and Ole Miss for round two on Thursday morning. Senior team captain Keenan Huskey will be first off the tee for Carolina at 7:30 a.m. ET on hole 1.
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