March 9, 2018
Men's Golf at the General Hackler Championship
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- South Carolina men's golf travels to the coast this weekend to compete in the 2018 General Hackler Championship. The first two rounds will be played Saturday, with the final round taking place on Sunday. It'll kickoff a stretch of four tournaments in four weeks for the Gamecocks.
Senior Keenan Huskey, senior Ben Dietrich, junior Scott Stevens and sophomore Jamie Wilson remain in the lineup this week. Sophomore Caleb Proveaux, who played in every fall event for Carolina, returns to the lineup in the five-hole spot.
The Lexington, S.C., native was solid in his five fall events, posting a 72.27 scoring average and his first career top-10 finish to help the team win the 2017 Camden Collegiate Invitational.
Junior Will Miles be playing as an individual this weekend for the Gamecocks.
FROM THE COACH
"We are looking forward to competing this weekend. The Dunes Club is one of the favorite courses we play, and the field is really strong this year. We've had some great practice and very competitive qualifying the past couple of weeks since Houston. Our guys look prepared, focused and ready to go." -- head coach Bill McDonald
HISTORY AT THE GENERAL HACKLER CHAMPIONSHIP
Carolina will be making its third appearance all-time at the General Hackler this weekend. The Gamecocks placed fourth at last year's event at 8-over par, with top-10 finishes from Keenan Huskey (-2, T-5th) and Ryan Stachler (-1, T-7th). The final round was cancelled due to inclement weather last spring.
In it's first appearance in 2016, the Gamecocks took home the team title with a final score of 841 (-23), the second-lowest team score in tournament history. Three-time All-American Matt NeSmith was the co-medalist with Jimmy Stanger of Virginia. The duo each shot 207 (-9) for top individual honors. Their 207s tied for the second-lowest 54-score by an individual in tournament history.
It's a loaded field per usual this week for the Gamecocks as eight of the 13 teams competing, including South Carolina (No. 26), are ranked in the top-50 of the latest Golfstat Team Rankings. No. 2 Texas A&M leads the way and the Aggies are as hot as anybody in the country with five wins already during the 2017-18 season. They've won two of their last three and finished second in their spring opener they didn't win.
No. 12 LSU and No. 38 Kentucky are the fellow SEC Schools in the field this week alongside Carolina and A&M.
HUSKEY WINS ALL-AMERICAN INTERCOLLEGIATE
Senior team captain Keenan Huskey played lights out golf en route to medalist honors in the team's first event of the spring, the All-American Intercollegiate in Humble Texas, Feb. 16-18. The Greenville, S.C., native, shot a tournament record 201 (-15), fending off defending NCAA Individual Champion Braden Thornberry of Ole Miss in the final round. Thornberry is ranked No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Huskey recorded zero bogeys in the tournament and led the field with 18 birdies. His 201 ties him for the fourth lowest score in school history. The 2017 All-American is now tied with Matt NeSmith and Carl Paulson for second on the all-time wins list with four career victories.
RECAPPING THE FALL
South Carolina had a rock-solid fall slate, finishing in the top five in four of the team's five tournaments. The Gamecocks won the 2017 Camden Collegiate Invitational (Oct. 21-22) for the third time in four seasons with a 12-shot win over runner-up James Madison. Carolina finished 1-over par with a 54-hole total of 841. The Gamecocks took second place in the team's final event of the fall in November, the Ka'anapali Collegiate Classic (Nov. 3-5) in Hawaii. The Gamecocks shot a season-best 828 (-24), the fifth lowest 54-hole total in program history.
2017 All-SEC and PING All-Region selection Scott Stevens was outstanding in the fall, leading the team in scoring average (70.40), rounds of par or better (10), rounds in the 60s (7), top-10 finishes (3) and top-five finishes (2). The sophomore from Chattanooga, Tenn. finished T-3 at The Jackrabbit (Oct. 1-3) after shooting 205 (-11). He finished the fall with a bang earning runner-up medalist honors at the Ka'anapali Collegiate Classic thanks to a 202 (-11). His low score tied David Seawell for the sixth lowest 54-hole score in program history.
Fellow 2017 All-SEC and PING All-Region selection Keenan Huskey bounced back from a tough start to the fall in the season-opener at The Farm (Sept. 8-10) to finish in the top-15 individually at the team's next four events. His two top-10s were second on the team as he finished with a 71.40 scoring average during the fall slate. The senior captain from Greenville, S.C. had a team-best sixth place finish at the Camden Collegiate Invitational helping the team secure its first win of the 2017-18 season. Stevens finished the fall ranked 10th in the Golfstat SEC Player Rankings.
Junior Will Miles had superb fall after working hard in the offseason. The Hilton Head Island, S.C., native ranked second on the team with a 71.20 scoring average. He was tied for second on the team with four rounds in the 60s. Miles tallied his second career top-five finish in helping the team to take second at the Ka'anapali Collegiate Classic in Hawaii. He finished in fourth place after shooting a career-54 hole low of 204 (-9), thanks to a 66 in the opening round and a 66 in the final round. Miles and Huskey both ranked in the top-30 of the final Golfstat SEC Player Rankings for the fall.
Sophomore Caleb Proveaux, who started all five events alongside Huskey, Stevens and Miles, had two top-20 finishes and his first career top-10 at the Camden Collegiate Invitational (T-7th, +1). He tied for second on the team with eight rounds of par or better.
Gamecock head coach Bill McDonald is the winningest coach by tournament victories in school history with 21. McDonald broke the previous record of nine held by Puggy Blackmon (1995-2007) with Carolina's win at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in September 2014. McDonald captured a school-record five wins in 2014-15 and the team's third-straight title at the 2017 Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate last spring. His latest win came this fall at the 2017 Camden Collegiate Invitational as Carolina won the event for the third time in four seasons thanks to three individual top-10 finishes.
The Gamecocks head to Palm City, Florida to compete in the Valspar Collegiate Invitational on March 18-20. The annual tournament, played at Floridian Golf Club, features one of the best fields in the country every year.
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