Bryan IV Aims to Defend Schenkel E-Z-Go Title This Weekend
March 19, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina junior George Bryan IV will lead a group of Gamecock golfers to Statesboro, Ga., this weekend, where he will look to defend his 2008 title at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational, being played at the par-72 Forest Heights Country Club. The No. 12-ranked Gamecocks begin first-round competition Friday morning with 54 holes to be played throughout the weekend.
"We are looking forward to another Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational," South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. "The team has worked hard this past week in preparation for the event."
Bryan took last year's tournament title with an 8-under-par 208, one stroke ahead of Alabama's Michael Thompson. The then-sophomore made his move in Saturday's second round, firing a bogey-free 66 (-6) to move his way into a six-way tie for first place. He got off to a fast start in his final round, moving to 4-under through seven holes, but a string of bogeys dropped him back into a tie. Bryan would punctuate his round with a birdie at the par-5 18th to take a one-shot victory, the first of his collegiate career.
"I know that George Bryan is excited about defending his medalist title from last year, so he should be ready to go," McDonald said. "Our team has focused again on winning and contending for championships."
Joining Bryan in the lineup will be senior Mark Silvers III, who turned in a third-place finish at the General Jim Hackler Invitational two weeks ago in Myrtle Beach, the best result of his collegiate career. Last season, Silvers had three rounds in the 70s and finished at 223 (+7) at the Schenkel E-Z-Go.
The rest of the lineup will consist of junior Patrick Rada and freshmen Wesley Bryan and Sam Braver. Rada will be making his first appearance in the lineup since the Rees Jones Intercollegiate in November and his fourth start in six events this season. He had his best showing of the year at the Mason Rudolph Invitational where his ninth-place finish at 212 (-1) helped the Gamecocks to a team title. Bryan has one tournament victory under his belt this year, tying with teammate Paul Woodbury for medalist honors at the Rees Jones, and is coming off a 16th-place finish at the General Hackler two weeks ago.
Braver, a freshman from Roswell, Ga., will be making his first collegiate start this weekend. A two-time all-state selection in Georgia, Braver was ranked as high as 15th in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Ratings during the summer of 2008 prior to enrolling at South Carolina.
"Our lineup will include two freshmen, Wesley Bryan and Sam Braver," McDonald said. "Patrick Rada has made it back into our lineup and I look for Mark Silvers to continue his good play. We need to show a stronger commitment to our game plans and good decision making this week in order for us to be successful."
A field of 18 teams will compete for the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational title, including eight from the Southeastern Conference and several ranked in the latest GolfWeek Top 50. The field is headlined by No. 5 Florida, followed by No. 12 South Carolina, No. 20 LSU, No. 21 Tennessee, No. 24 NC State, No. 25 Mississippi, No. 39 Augusta State, No. 42 Georgia State, No. 47 Vanderbilt, No. 48 Iowa and No. 50 Georgia Southern. Also competing will be Auburn, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Virginia.
Last season, South Carolina finished third at the event with a team score of 859 (-5), six shots ahead of Tennessee and three back of second-place Florida.
Tee times will be posted as they become available, and live stats can be obtained through golfstat.com.