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Two Sign With South Carolina Men's Golf


Dec. 3, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Two high school standouts from the state of Georgia have signed National Letters of Intent to compete for the University of South Carolina men’s golf team beginning with the 2009-10 school year, head coach Bill McDonald announced today. Dean Hester of Dublin, Ga., and Dykes Harbin of Augusta, Ga., will join the Gamecocks next season.

 “I am very excited about this 2009 class,” McDonald said. “Coach Michael Burcin continues to do an outstanding job of evaluating the type of student-athlete that our program needs. Both of these young men are highly motivated to step right in and contribute.”

Hester is a three-sport athlete at Trinity Christian School in Dublin, Ga., having competed in basketball and baseball in addition to golf.  He was named to the all-region and all-state teams as early as eighth grade, then continued the tradition through his high school career.  While at Trinity, he helped his team to three consecutive regional and state championships from 2005-07 and a runner-up finish in both events last season. 

Dean Hester

The son of a former University of Georgia golfer, Minton Hester, Dean won his first tournament at age 6. In 2004, he won nine tournaments on the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour, including the tour championship and the overall points title. He won the American Junior Golf Association Nike Golf Junior title in 2006 and was named to the Nike All-Star Team that season. In AJGA tournaments, he has one top-five and two top-10 finishes, including a tie for third at the Golfweek Invitational in 2007.

“Dean has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the state of Georgia over the past year, but he has chosen to play high school basketball and I have supported him in doing so,” McDonald said. “I have no doubt he would be ranked higher nationally if his only focus was golf, but in this day of specialization, it is refreshing to recruit someone who enjoys the challenge of playing another sport at a high level. At 6-5, Dean has no problem generating a tremendous amount of club head speed. Dean is a fiery competitor and he has an outstanding short game.”

Harbin, a product of Westside High School in Augusta, Ga., has been the team MVP the last two seasons at Westside. He was named all-state as a freshmen when he attended Augusta Prep and was all-region medalist that year and also as a junior at Westside. He led Augusta Prep to a state championship his freshman year of 2006, and he has helped Westside to a pair of regional titles in two years thus far.

Dykes Harbin 

He had a pair of runner-up finishes in Future Collegians World Tour events in 2008 and took home a top-20 finish from the 2008 FCWT National Championship. He has one top-25 and one top-15 finish in AJGA events, and he tied for fifth at the Georgia State Junior Championship over the summer. He represented Georgia in the 2008 Georgia/South Carolina Junior Challenge matches, helping the Georgia team to victory. Harbin is currently ranked No. 7 in the state of Georgia and is among the top 150 nationally.

“Dykes is a very steady player with a tremendous work ethic,” McDonald said. “He had several solid finishes earlier this past summer that really caught our attention. I think Dykes will continue to mature with his game, and he should be ready to contribute upon his arrival to Columbia. He has grown up under the tutelage of Tommy Brannen at Augusta Country Club. Tommy is an accomplished PGA Instructor and Senior PGA competitor.

“Both Dean and Dykes are excellent students in the classroom, and they also possess the talent, determination and desire to excel on the golf course. In what many experts believed to be a down year for recruiting, I think we did exceptionally well and signed two players who could have a tremendous impact on our program.”




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