The 20th-ranked South Carolina men’s golf team punched its ticket to the NCAA Championship on Saturday afternoon as it tied for second place at the NCAA Columbus Regional at the Ohio State University Golf Club.
The Gamecocks posted a final-round 288 (+4) to wrap up the week in a tie with Auburn with a total of 872 (+20), earning their first championship trip since 2009 and the program’s 17th all-time. Carolina fell two strokes shy of regional champion New Mexico. The top-seeded Lobos finished first with a total of 870 (+18).
This year’s NCAA Championship will be held May 28 through June 2 at the Capital City Club in Atlanta.
“What a great week for our program,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “The guys really showed some strong character today and played a very good round under extreme pressure. Matt Nesmith’s round was incredible, and Dykes Harbin showed how great a leader he is with his play. Now on to Atlanta.”
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NeSmith, the SEC Freshman of the Year, made a charge up the leaderboard to lead the way on Saturday. The North Augusta native fired a 3-under 68 to climb 14 spots to finish in a tie for second with a total of 214 (+1).
UNLV claimed fourth place with a total of 878 (+26), and Texas Tech took fifth with a total of 879 (+27) to join the Gamecocks, New Mexico and Auburn in advancing to the NCAA Championship.
The NCAA Championship will feature three days of stroke play before the 30-team field is cut down to eight teams for three days of match play.
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS
T2. Matt NeSmith (3) 75-71-68=214 (+1)
T9. Will Starke (5) 68-73-76=217 (+4)
T25. Caleb Sturgeon (2) 75-75-72=222 (+9)
T43. Dykes Harbin (1) 73-80-72=225 (+12)
T48. Sean Kelly (4) 72-77-77=226 (+13)
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
(Top Five Teams Advance to NCAA Championship)
1. New Mexico 294-293-283=870 (+18)
T2. South Carolina 288-296-288=872 (+20)
T2. Auburn 293-293-286=872 (+20)
4. UNLV 292-292-294=878 (+26)
5. Texas Tech 299-288-292=879 (+27)
6. Virginia 303-294-285=882 (+30)
7. Stanford 291-295-298=884 (+32)
8. Missouri 294-301-291=886 (+34)
T9. Charlotte 287-309-293=889 (+37)
T9. Chattanooga 304-294-291=889 (+37)
11. San Francisco 297-299-297=893 (+41)
12. Georgia Southern 298-308-309=915 (+63)
13. Valparaiso 309-308-310=927 (+75)