Gamecocks Conclude Season with 16th-Place NCAA Finish
May 28, 2009
TOLEDO, Ohio - South Carolina's men's golf team fought through a very difficult course setup at Inverness Club and battled strong winds throughout their final round to post a third-day total of 294 (+10) and earn a likely 16th-place finish at the 112th NCAA Championships on Thursday. Six schools could not finish their rounds before dark on Thursday and the third round will not officially be complete until Friday morning, but the Gamecocks are virtually certain of a 16th-place showing.
"Nine holes in the first round was the difference in the golf tournament," head coach Bill McDonald said. "If we don't shoot 17-over on that one stretch Tuesday, we're right in the thick of it. I am proud of how the guys kept fighting all the way through. They took a tough golf course and competed with the best teams in the country."
Senior Mark Silvers III played his final round as a Gamecock on Thursday afternoon, shooting a 72 (+1) to earn a top-20 finish at 215 (+2). The native of Savannah, Ga., made par on his first three holes before hitting the treacherous stretch of holes three through seven, where he carded three bogeys in four holes. A birdie-bogey finish left him at 3-over at the turn. He would birdie the 10th to get back to 2-over, then record four straight pars before another birdie at the tricky par-4 15th. A bogey at 16 got him back to 2-over, but then he stuck his approach on 18 to about 15 feet from a difficult position and drained the putt with a big fist-pump to finish at 1-over for the day. Silvers will take home a tie for 18th place from his second NCAA Championship, adding that to his 22nd-place showing at the 2007 tournament.
Wesley Bryan was another strong finisher for the Gamecocks, shooting a 73 (+2) to finish at 6-over 219 for the tournament, tentatively tied for 37th place. The freshman finished the first seven holes at 1-over, but then hit his drive out of bounds on the eighth hole and took double-bogey to make the turn at 3-over. He would then record three birdies in five holes on the back nine, including back-to-back threes at the 14th and 15th holes, to finish at 73 for the day.
Junior Patrick Rada had his best round of the week, improving by three strokes on the final day to post a 74 (+3). Rada birdied the difficult par-3 third hole to get to 1-under, then managed to finish the front nine with only two bogeys to make the turn at 1-over. He would bogey holes 11 and 15 before a birdie at the 16th and another bogey at 17. He made a fantastic scrambling par on the 18th hole to finish his day and his tournament.
Sam Braver, a freshman playing in his first NCAA Championship, shot his second straight round of 75 (+4) to finish the week. After a double-bogey at the very difficult fourth hole that got him to 3-over, Braver would par 13 of his remaining 14 holes, including every hole of the back nine, to post a 75. Junior George Bryan IV struggled in his final round as he managed to hit only six greens en route to a 77 (+6); however, Bryan made his birdie putts on four of the six greens he hit.
Oklahoma State finished the stroke-play portion of the event 13 strokes clear of the field at 3-under after a round of 281 (-3) on Thursday. They will play in the first quarterfinal match Friday against Georgia, which struggled to a 296 (+12) and managed to hold on to the final spot in the match play event. The other quarterfinal matches will be Arkansas vs. Washington, Arizona State vs. Texas A&M and Southern California vs. Michigan.
Matt Hill of NC State won the individual national championship with a total score of 207 (-6). He held off a final-round charge from Clemson's Kyle Stanley, who shot 66 (-5) on Thursday to finish at 4-under for the tournament. Third place was a three-way tie between Rickie Fowler (Oklahoma State), Tom Glissmeyer (Southern California) and Tom Hoge (TCU).
With the collegiate season over, the Gamecock players and coaches will turn their attention to various amateur events and qualifying for USGA championships. Most of the team competed in U.S. Open local qualifying over the last two weeks with coach Bill McDonald and freshman Clint Tolleson finishing as alternates at their respective qualifiers; Wesley Bryan finished one stroke shy of qualifying at his site. The next qualifiers for the Gamecock men will be for the U.S. Amateur Public Links as George and Wesley Bryan will compete in sectionals in Hagerstown, Md., on June 16.
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS (Third round complete, updated 9:10 a.m.)
TEAM STANDINGS (Final - Updated 9:10 a.m.)