Gamecock Trio Named All-America Scholars
NORMAN, Okla. (CU SID) — South Carolina graduates Sean Kelly, Matt NeSmith and Will Starke were honored as 2016 Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars, it was announced Wednesday by the Golf Coaches Association of America. The All-America Scholar honor is the second for each of the Gamecocks.
Kelly, NeSmith and Starke join a group of 212 All-America Scholars. To be eligible for Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least three full years at the collegiate level, participate in 50-percent of his team’s competitive rounds, have a stroke-average under 76.0, and maintain a minimum cumulative career grade-point average of 3.2. A recipient must also be of high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.
Kelly was the South Carolina athletics department’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and posted a stroke average of 73.23 over 10 appearances as a senior. The Staten Island, N.Y., native played his best golf at the end of the season, earning top-10 finishes at the SEC Championship and the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. His fourth-round 69 (-1) at the NCAA Championship helped South Carolina finish tied for seventh in stroke play section of the event.
NeSmith was a two-time medalist and ended the season as the program’s first-ever PING First Team All-American. He was also a Golfweek All-American, a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus Awards and a First-Team All-SEC honoree. His career stroke average of 71.65 is the best in Gamecock history.
Starke was a Golfweek Second-Team All-American in addition to earning a spot on the Byron Nelson Award Watch List. The Chapin, S.C., product tied for 13th at the NCAA Championship after leading the individual field after the first round and shooting 66 (-4) in the fourth. His career stroke average of 72.17 ranks second in Gamecock program history.
All three Gamecocks were SEC Honor Roll selections and earned status on the Mackenzie Tour following their graduation from South Carolina. The Mackenzie Tour is off this week but resumes play with the Syncrude Oil Country Championship July 28-31 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Led by their seniors, the 2015-16 Gamecocks won four tournaments and finished seventh in the stroke play portion of the 2016 NCAA Championship, a program best. Head Coach Bill McDonald’s team advanced to match play for the first time and ended the season ranked 10th in the nation by Golfstat.