May 13, 2018
Men's Golf at the 2018 NCAA Bryan Regional
BRYAN, Texas -- South Carolina men’s golf opens play at the 2018 NCAA Bryan Regional on Monday morning. The Gamecocks, who are making their 11th NCAA Regional appearance in the past 12 seasons, will be paired with San Francisco and Georgia in the first round, teeing off at 9:25 a.m. ET on hole one.
Carolina will be using the same five-man lineup of senior Keenan Huskey, junior Scott Stevens, junior Will Miles, senior Ben Dietrich and freshman Andrew Spiegler as the SEC Championship. It marks the first time Carolina has used the same lineup in consecutive tournaments since the Camden Collegiate Invitational and the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic in the fall.
Huskey and Stevens, who have started every tournament the past two seasons, will each be making their third career NCAA Regional appearances, while Miles and Dietrich will each be making their second. Huskey, an All-American last season, notched a top-10 finish in his first postseason appearance at the 2016 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional as a sophomore. Stevens finished T-30th that season, shooting 70 (-2) in the final round to help the Gamecocks punch their ticket to the NCAA Championship with a runner-up finish in the team standings.
Miles and Dietrich have each had some postseason success as well, as Miles led the team with a T-15th at the NCAA West Lafayette Regional last season. Dietrich finished T-22nd at the 2014 NCAA Eugene Regional as a freshman.
FROM THE COACH
“We are looking forward to our trip to College Station, and we’ll have to play well to advance through a tough NCAA Regional field. It’s always an exciting time of the year for our sport, and our guys are focused and ready to compete. The reward for the hard work this season is that we now have a great opportunity to compete for a championship. It just doesn’t get any better than that.” -- head coach Bill McDonald
HISTORY AT NCAA REGIONALS
The Gamecocks will be making their 26th all-time appearance at NCAA Regionals since 1988, and their 11th trip in 12 seasons under head coach Bill McDonald. Carolina will be seeking its first appearance back at nationals since a program-record four-straight trips from 2013-16. McDonald helped lead South Carolina to its highest finish ever at the NCAA Championship in 2016, as the team advanced to match play for the first time in program history and finished T-5th. The Gamecocks have advanced to the NCAA Championship six times in 10 previous regional appearances under McDonald.
Serving as the interim head coach, McDonald led Carolina to the 2007 NCAA West Regional Title, the program’s first and only regional championship. Three-time All-American Kyle Thompson, who is currently playing on the PGA TOUR, earned individual medalist honors at NCAA Regionals two times (1999, 2001). Fellow three-time All-American Matt NeSmith came close to joining Thompson as the program’s only individual regional champions in 2016, earning runner-up medalist honors at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional.
BRYAN REGIONAL FIELD
All 14 teams in the SEC, the nation’s premier college golf conference, are in the NCAA Regional field, a first for the conference. Five of those teams, top-seeded Texas A&M, No. 4 seed Kentucky, No. 6 seed Ole Miss, No. 9 seed Georgia and No. 10 seed Mississippi State, will be playing alongside Carolina this week at the Traditions Club. No. 11 Baylor and No. 14 Clemson join the second ranked Aggies and 23rd ranked Wildcats as the top-25 teams in the field based off the latest Golfstat Team Rankings. Five more teams, including the Gamecocks (No. 38) are ranked in the top-50 of the latest poll, released on May 2, 2018.
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 top-five teams at the NCAA Bryan Regional will advance to the NCAA Championship May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. The Gamecocks will be seeking their 21st all-time appearance and the program’s fifth in the past six seasons. Carolina made a program-record four-straight trips from 2013-16, with its first NCAA Match Play appearance and highest finish ever (T-5th) at the 2016 NCAA Championship in Eugene, Ore.
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