No. 24 Gamecocks Set To Make Irish Creek Intercollegiate Debut|
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina will look to continue its momentum in the team's regular season finale this weekend at the 2017 Irish Creek Intercollegiate. The Gamecocks are fresh off their first win of the season at the Hootie At Bulls Bay Intercollegiate last week.
Junior Keenan Huskey, sophomore Scott Stevens, sophomore Ryan Stachler and freshman Jamie Wilson remain in the lineup for the fifth straight tournament this spring. Sophomore Will Miles will be making his spring debut. Miles will be competing in the lineup for the first time since the Ka'anapali Collegiate Classic (Nov. 4-6) in the fall. He had a nice showing playing for the Gamecocks as an individual at Bulls Bay Golf Club last week, finishing T-17th after a season-best 54-hole score of 215 (-1). Wilson, who earned SEC Men's Golf Freshman of the Week honors for the second time last week, helped lead the team to the tournament championship with a career-best T-5th finish after shooting a career 54-hole low 209 (-7).
Freshman Caleb Proveaux will be competing as an individual for the Gamecocks.
HISTORY AT THE IRISH CREEK INTERCOLLEGIATE
South Carolina will be competing for the first time in program history at the Irish Creek Intercollegiate this weekend.
Wake Forest won last year's event with a final 54-hole tally of 855 (+3). Kennesaw State (+7), North Carolina (+8), Florida State (+15) and VCU (+16) rounded out the top-five. Ryan Cole of James Madison won the event at 10-under after shooting 203. Will Zalatoris of Wake Forest and Adam Ball of VCU T-2nd at 3-under. Cole's name might sound familiar as he won the Camden Collegiate Invitational this fall after defeating Carolina's Keenan Huskey in a sudden-death playoff.
Five fellow top-50 teams join the Gamecocks in the field this week, led by No. 8 Wake Forest. North Carolina (27), Florida State (31), North Florida (42) and Kennesaw State (44) are also in the field. Ohio State (52) is ranked just outside the top-50 in the latest Golfstat Rankings released on April 4, 2017.
South Carolina is the only SEC program in this week's tournament field.
RECAPPING THE FALL
South Carolina finished in the top-five in three of its four fall events. The team took 10th (875, +11) at the Carpet Capital Collegiate on Sept. 9-11, fifth at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate (839, -13) on Sept. 23-25, second at the Camden Collegiate Invitational (859, +19) on Oct. 22-23 and fifth at the Ka'anapali Collegiate Classic (840, -12) on Nov. 4-6.
Sophomore Scott Stevens and junior Keenan Huskey, Carolina's two returnees from the team's magical NCAA run last spring, paced the Gamecocks throughout the fall season. Stevens finished the fall with a 69.58 stroke average, three tiop-10 individual finishes, eight rounds at par or better and six rounds in the 60s. His best individual finish was at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, when he earned runner-up medalist honors after shooting 198 (-15). The low tally was the third-best 54-hole score in program history.
Huskey finished just behind Stevens with a 69.67 stroke average. He finished in the top-20 individually in all four of the team's events this fall, highlighted by a runner-up medalist finish at the Camden Collegiate Classic. The Greenville, S.C., native, shot in the 60s five times this fall and played eight rounds at par or better. Huskey shot 64 twice this fall, in the second round at the Maui Jim and the second round at Camden. The two 64s tied for the fourth lowest 18-hole scores in program history.
South Carolina finished the fall slate as the only school in the country with two golfers in the top-10 for scoring average. Stevens tied for 6th with his 69.58 stroke average and Huskey tied for ninth with his 69.67 stroke average.
RECAPPING THE 2015-16 SEASON
South Carolina advanced to its fourth straight NCAA Championship after a second place finish at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional behind SEC foe Georgia. At the NCAA Championship, the Gamecocks sat in 14th place heading into the final round of stroke play.
The team finished seventh after shooting a final round 277 (-3) to advance to the match play portion of the event for the first time in school history. The seventh-place finish was the team's highest ever in stroke play at the NCAA Championship. In match play, the Gamecocks fell to eventual national runner-up Illinois, 4-1. Then-freshman Scott Stevens earned the lone point for the Gamecocks.
Three of the five players from Carolina's NCAA Championship squad, Sean Kelly, Matt NeSmith and Will Starke, have graduated and moved on to the Canadian PGA Tour. Huskey and Stevens return for the Gamecocks this season. The team's final Golfstat ranking was 10th, marking the second-straight top-10 finish for the program.
Gamecock head coach Bill McDonald is the winningest coach by tournament victories in school history with 19. 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 snagged his latest victory at the 2017 Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate on March 28. It was the team's first win of the 2016-17 season and its third straight year bringing home the team title at Bulls Bay Golf Club.
UP NEXT FOR THE GAMECOCKS
Carolina has a couple weeks to prep for postseason play with the SEC Championship looming April 21-24 in St. Simons Island, Ga.