USC Golf Tied For Lead At Columbus Regional

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By Sports Department

COLUMBUS, OH (USC SID) -- The 20th-ranked South Carolina men’s golf team posted a second-round 296 (+12) on Friday to move into a tie for the lead at the NCAA Columbus Regional at the Ohio State University Golf Club.

The Gamecocks are tied with UNLV with a total of 584 (+16) with 18 holes remaining. Auburn (586) and Stanford (586) are two strokes back in a tie for third, and Texas Tech (587) and New Mexico (587) are three strokes off the pace in a tie for fifth. The top five teams and top individual not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship. Carolina took the lead from Charlotte early in the round and led by as many as six strokes late in the day but it struggled down the stretch to create separation from the field.

“Today was a frustrating in that we had a chance to really separate from the field and we just struggled on the back nine to make pars,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We have a great opportunity tomorrow to redeem ourselves and win the golf tournament.”

For the second-straight round, freshman Will Starke was solid for the Gamecocks as he shot a 2-over 73 to remain in a tie for second with a total of 141 (-1). He is tied with Texas Tech’s Matias Domingeuz and trails UNLV’s Carl Jonson (140) by a stroke for the tournament lead. A native of Chapin, S.C., Starke opened his round with a birdie on the first but followed it up with a double bogey on No. 2. He then birdied the par-5 fourth to get back to even and made the turn with a 36 (E). After making birdie on the 10th to get to 1-under, he bogeyed three out of his final eight holes to close out the day at 2-over.

SEC Freshman of the Year Matt NeSmith bounced back from an opening-round 75 (+4) to shoot an even-par 71 on Friday to lead the way. NeSmith wrapped up the day in a tie for 16th with a total of 146 (+4). On the front nine, he recorded birdies on the fourth and seventh holes to get to 2-under before making back-to-back bogeys on holes eight and nine to make the turn at ever. After tallying another birdie on the 10th and bogeying the 11th, he closed out his round with seven straight pars.

Sophomore Sean Kelly carded a 6-over 77 but remains in the hunt for a top-20 finish as he concluded the day in a tie for 25th with a total of 149 (+7). After making the turn at 1-over 37, Kelly made an eagle on the par-4 10th to get to 1-under. However, he bogeyed seven out of his final eight holes to drop back to 6-over heading into the clubhouse.

Sophomore Caleb Sturgeon turned in his second-straight round of 75 (+4) to move into a tie for 33rd with a total of 150 (+8). He recorded three birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey on the afternoon.

Senior Dykes Harbin, whose round was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 12th, shot an 80 (+9) to finish the day in a tie for 56th.

The Gamecocks will tee off in the final round on Saturday at 8:40 a.m. and will be paired with UNLV and Auburn. Live scoring will be available at golfstatresults.com.

SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS
T2. Will Starke (5) 68-73=141 (-1)
T16. Matt NeSmith (3) 75-71=146 (+4)
T25. Sean Kelly (4) 72-77=149 (+7)
T33. Caleb Sturgeon (2) 75-75=150 (+8)
T56. Dykes Harbin (1) 73-80=153 (+11)

TEAM STANDINGS
T1. UNLV 292-292=584 (+16)
T1. South Carolina 288-296=584 (+16)
T3. Auburn 293-293=586 (+18)
T3. Stanford 291-295=586 (+18)
T5. Texas Tech 299-288=587 (+19)
T5. New Mexico 294-293=587 (+19)
7. Missouri 294-301=595 (+27)
T8. Charlotte 287-309=596 (+28)
T8. San Francisco 297-299=596 (+28)
10. Virginia 303-294=597 (+29)
11. Chattanooga 304-294=598 (+30)
12. Georgia Southern 298-308=606 (+38)
13. Valparaiso 309-308=617 (+49)

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