Oct. 15, 2017
Men's Golf at Crooked Stick Invitational
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina men's golf tees it up this weekend up north at the Crooked Stick Invitational in Carmel, Ind. The Gamecocks, who are making their first ever appearance in the event, will play 36 holes on Monday and 18 on Tuesday.
Crooked Stick Golf Club will play as the host for the two-day event. The prestigious Pete Dye course has hosted the PGA Championship, the U.S. Women's Open, the Solheim Cup, the U.S. Senior Open and the BMW Championship twice.
All-SEC and PING All-Southeast Region picks Keenan Huskey and Scott Stevens remain staples in the lineup, as well as junior Will Miles and sophomore Caleb Proveaux. Freshman Andrew Spiegler is back competing this week for the first time since the season-opening Carpet Capital Collegiate.
FROM THE COACH
""We're looking forward to it. It's a unique event. They only have it every couple years. Crooked Stick is a very well-known golf course - held a lot of great championships over the years. It's one of the better, more classic Pete Dye designs. Good bit of water and a lot of trickery off the tee - just a great, classic Pete Dye golf course. We're looking forward to a great trip to Indy." -- head coach Bill McDonald
HISTORY AT THE CROOKED STICK INVITATIONAL
For the second-straight tournament, Carolina will be making its first ever appearance at an event with its participation in the 2017 Crooked Stick Invitational. It's the fourth year of the fall tournament since its inception in 2010.
Perennial men's golf power Illinois has won the event twice (2010 and 2015). The Illini shot 866 (+2) en route to a 19-shot win in 2015 over Purdue. Arkansas bounced back after a 306 in the opening round to win the event in 2013 with a final score of 875 (+11). Just 10 players have finished the tournament at par or better in its brief, three-year history.
No. 9 Kentucky and No. 14 Illinois are the two teams in the field ranked in the top-25 of the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll, which was released on Friday, Sept. 29, for the first time during the 2017-18 season.
Georgia joins South Carolina and Kentucky as the only SEC schools in the 12-team field. The Gamecocks, Michigan State and North Florida all received votes in the initial coaches poll rankings.
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 a short week before returning to play as they host the 2017 Camden Collegiate Invitational at Camden Country Club for the fourth consecutive season next weekend. The two-day event begins on Saturday morning in Camden, S.C.
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