Augusta State Invitational Next for Gamecocks
April 1, 2011
By Wes Todd
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A week before the golf world descends upon Augusta, the college game takes center stage as the Gamecocks join 15 other top programs at the Insperity Augusta State Invitational. The tournament runs Saturday and Sunday at the par 72, 7,029-yard Forest Hills Golf Club, located on the Augusta State campus.
South Carolina will send out a lineup that consists of a junior, three sophomores and a true freshman, plus another freshman as an individual competitor. Junior Wesley Bryan (Chapin, S.C.) leads the way, playing in his 31st consecutive tournament for the Gamecocks. He earned a top-10 finish at last year's Augusta event with an 8-under-par 208. Sophomore Clint Tolleson (Spartanburg, S.C.) joins Bryan as the only two Gamecocks with returning experience at this event. Tolleson shot 214 (-2) and finished in a tie for 28th place last year.
The other three competitors in the Carolina starting lineup are all Georgia natives returning to their home state for the fourth time this year. Freshman Blaine Woodruff (Acworth, Ga.) has been Carolina's top golfer this year with a 73.81 scoring average, having played in every event. Sophomore Dean Hester (Dublin, Ga.) makes his sixth start of the year for the Gamecocks, and fellow sophomore Dykes Harbin (Augusta, Ga.) returns to his hometown as he cracks the lineup for the fifth time this season.
Freshman Caulder Moore (Isle of Palms, S.C.) will compete as an individual this week, making his second consecutive varsity appearance after playing in last week's Hootie at Bulls Bay.
South Carolina has played in this event seven previous times dating back to 2002, including two of the last three years. Carolina's best finish came last year when the Gamecocks shot a 31-under-par 833 - the fourth-best 54-hole team score in school history - to finish runner-up to the host Jaguars. The Gamecocks finished fourth in 2007 and 2008.
Last year at this event, the Gamecocks put together one of their best performances in many years. In the second round of the Administaff Augusta State Invitational, South Carolina shot a team score of 266 (-22), which broke an 11-year-old school record by one stroke. Four of the five Gamecocks were in the 60s, including a pair of 65s from George Bryan IV and Wesley Bryan. Paul Woodbury was two shots back with a career-best 67, and Clint Tolleson shot 69. The team finished the weekend at 833 (-31), the fourth-lowest 54-hole total in Carolina annals, and Bryan IV and Woodbury tied for third place at 206 (-10).
The nation's top three teams will be competing this week, with No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Alabama leading the field in Augusta. No. 8 Illinois and the host Jaguars, ranked ninth, give the field five of the top 10 squads in the nation, according to Golfweek. Four other ranked teams - No. 20 Washington, No. 33 Clemson, No. 35 Tennessee and No. 45 Virginia Tech - are competing, and Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Houston, Lamar and USC-Aiken round out the field.
The teams will play 36 holes on Saturday followed by an 18-hole round Sunday. South Carolina is paired with Clemson and Virginia Tech for Saturday's play, which gets underway with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Live scoring is available through golfstat.com.