Sept. 7, 2017
Men's Golf at Carpet Capital Collegiate
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina men's golf kicks off its highly anticipated 2017-18 season tomorrow morning in the opening round of the Carpet Capital Collegiate. The event has been a staple on the Gamecocks schedule since 1989.
All-SEC and All-Southeast Region picks Keenan Huskey and Scott Stevens headline the starting lineup this week at The Farm. Sophomore Caleb Proveaux and junior Will Miles, who both have a bundle of starting experience under the belts from last season, will also be teeing it up for the Gamecocks on Friday. True freshman Andrew Spiegler rounds out the lineup as he is set to make his collegiate debut. Redshirt senior Ben Dietrich will be competing as an individual.
FROM THE COACH
"This gives our guys some great experience. Not only is it a tough golf course to play, but you've always got a good mix of ACC and SEC teams there -- and other programs as well. The schedule looks really good this year for us in terms of giving us a good mix of types of golf courses and good fields. We're getting it off to a good start this week for sure." -- head coach Bill McDonald
HISTORY AT THE FARM
Carolina is making its 27th appearance overall and their 12th straight at the Carpet Capital Collegiate. The Gamecocks' best finish came in 2014 as it captured the tournament title with a 54-hole total of 848 (-16). Carolina also finished tied for first in 2007. A pair of Gamecocks have earned medalist honors at The Farm, as PGA TOUR alum Kyle Thompson won in 2000 and David Seawell earned medalist honors in 1994.
LAST TIME AT THE FARM
South Carolina was T-4th after the opening round last season after shooting 283 (-5). The Gamecocks ended up finishing 10th at 11-over. All-American Keenan Huskey led the team with a 16th place finish after three consectuive under-par rounds (69-71-71). Scott Stevens and Jamie Wilson each T-38th 3-over for the tournament. Stevens shot a final round 69 (-3) to lead the team on the final day.
It'll be another loaded field this week at the Carpet Capital Collegiate, which is annually one of the top early-season collegiate tournaments in the country. Eight teams in the Golfweek Preseason Top-30 Poll will be battling it out at The Farm.
Five other SEC schools will be competing alongside Carolina, who was slotted No. 26 in the preseason poll. Four of those five programs are ranked in the preseason top-30: Florida (No. 4), Alabama (No. 12), Auburn (No. 14) and LSU (No. 23). Tennessee is also in the field this week to round out the SEC programs competing.
Georiga Tech (No. 19), Clemson (No. 25) and North Florida (No. 30) are the other ranked teams squaring off with the five ranked SEC schools.
RECAPPING THE 2016-17 SEASON
Carolina advanced to its 10th NCAA Regional in the last 11 seasons a year ago, qualified for the first ever SEC Match Play at the SEC Championship (top-eight teams in stroke play), finished in the top-five in eight of its 12 events and won the Hootie At Bulls Bay Intercollegiate for the third consecutive season.
Keenan Huskey earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from Golfweek after a standout junior season. He logged the third lowest scoring average all-time in program history at 70.63 en route to earning Second Team All-SEC honors and PING All-Southeast Region honors. He played in all 12 events and finished in the top-20 nine times, with a team-high six top-10s. Despite battling an arm injury for much of the second half of the season, he still managed to finish T-9th in the stroke play portion of the SEC Championship.
Scott Stevens had a stellar sophomore campaign, logging the fifth lowest scoring average all-time at Carolina (71.26) and the lowest ever by a second-year player in program history. He had seven top-20 finishes and three top-fives en route to earning Second Team All-SEC recognition and PING All-Southeast Region honors. Huskey and Stevens were the only players on the roster to start all 12 events last season.
Jamie Wilson had a breakout spring for the Gamecocks in 2017. He saw action in the starting lineup eight times and posted a 72.97 scoring average, the sixth best in program history for a freshman. Wilson helped propel the Gamecocks to the first ever SEC Match Play last spring after shooting a career-best 66 (-4) in the final round of stroke play to finish T-16th at the SEC Championship. He earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors twice
Gamecock head coach Bill McDonald is the winningest coach by tournament victories in school history with 20. 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
The Gamecocks have the rest of the month off before making their first ever appearance Oct. 1-3 at The Jackrabbit in Valentine, Neb.
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