EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of South Carolina Men's Golf team qualified for the fourth round at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship as they finished the opening 54-hole portion of the event in 12th place with a team score of 865 (+25). The Gamecocks shot a score of 293 (+13) in the third round and made the 54-hole cut by two strokes.
The Gamecocks entered the day in 11th place and went out with the morning groups as one of the top 15 teams on the 36-hole leaderboard. South Carolina stood in 21st position at the conclusion of their round but gradually moved up the standings as the afternoon went on, eventually settling in 12th place.
Vanderbilt leads the team standings after three days at Eugene Country Club, with a score of 845 (+5). Texas (847, +7) is two strokes back, while Southern California (850, +10) sits in third place.
The field will be trimmed to eight teams after Monday's round, and the Gamecocks have some ground to make up in order to qualify for the match play portion of the Championship. California currently owns eighth place, at 858 (+18); the Gamecocks are seven strokes back.
South Carolina was able to advance thanks in large part to their tremendous play on Eugene Country Club's back nine, the harder of the two halves this week. The Gamecocks started on the 10th hole Sunday and thus played the back nine first; they made the turn at 3-over, their best effort on the side this week.
Matt NeSmith shot South Carolina's best round of the day, a 71 (+1) that has the senior at 216 (+6) through three days. NeSmith strung four birdies together on Sunday, including consecutive under-par holes on the 4th and 5th. He is tied for 50th place.
Keenan Huskey shares the 50th spot with NeSmith after notching a score of 216 (+6) through three rounds. Huskey shot 76 (+6) on Sunday, which included a pair of birdies.
NeSmith and Huskey are 12 strokes behind the individual leader, Oregon's Aaron Wise (204, -6).
Senior Will Starke is in a tie for 67th place after 54 holes, with a cumulative score of 218. The Chapin, S.C., native shot 79 (+9) in his third round.
Sean Kelly posted his best round of the tournament on Sunday, a 72 (+2). The senior is tied for 85th position after three rounds of action. His Sunday round included three birdies, and he was one of the day's fastest risers, moving up 16 spots on the leaderboard.
Like Kelly, freshman Scott Stevens ended Sunday with his best effort of the week, a 74 (+4) that included three birdies. In his first career NCAA Championship appearance, Stevens is tied for 137th through 54 holes, with a score of 227 (+17).
Quoting Coach Bill McDonald
"It was a frustrating day in that we got off to a good start on some very tough holes and then played the back nine 10-over. The golf course is just playing so tough that any little mistake gets magnified. We are fortunate to be in the race to eight tomorrow, and I know the guys will give it all they have."
NeSmith saved some of his best holes of the tournament for the final nine on Sunday. The senior carded birdies on the 4th, 5th, and 8th holes to help the Gamecocks advance to the fourth round. Huskey also birdied the 8th as the Gamecocks moved on to Monday's action.
Up Next for the Gamecocks
The Gamecocks will tee off from the 10th hole at 12:20 p.m. PT on Monday alongside Illinois and Kentucky. Live television coverage begins at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) on Golf Channel, and live scoring is available throughout the day on Golfstat.com.
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