May 12, 2013

Youth rules S.C. colleges

If South Carolina and Clemson advance to the NCAA championship tournament later this month, youth will be served in this week’s regionals.

If South Carolina and Clemson advance to the NCAA championship tournament later this month, youth will be served in this week’s regionals.

The Gamecocks head to the Columbus regional at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course with two freshmen, two sophomores and a senior in the lineup. The Tigers wing west to the regional in Tempe, Ariz., with three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior on the squad.

“I think the Scarlet Course will be a good one for us,” said Gamecocks coach Bill McDonald, whose team is coming off a second-place finish in the SEC championship and earned the regional’s fourth seed. “The course demands good ball-striking, and that suits us well.”

The Gamecocks will use the same lineup that battled second-ranked Alabama to the wire in the SEC tourney: Senior Dykes Harbin, sophomores Caleb Sturgeon and Sean Kelly, and freshmen Matt NeSmith and Will Starke. In the SEC individual standings, Sturgeon finished second, Harbin tied for seventh and NeSmith shared 20th.

For the season, Harbin owns the best scoring average (72.73) and earned one individual title and four top-10s in 10 tournaments. NeSmith (73.0) has six top-10s and Sturgeon (73.3), who also won an individual title, posted four top-10s.

New Mexico is the regional’s top seed with Stanford second, Auburn third and the Gamecocks fourth.

Clemson, which finished fifth in the ACC tournament, will be seeded fifth in the Tempe regional behind UCLA, Duke, Georgia and Texas A&M. The Tigers are making their 30th consecutive appearance in the national tourney.

Coach Larry Penley’s lineup includes freshmen Stephen Behr (72.88), Miller Capps (73.52) and Cody Proveaux (73.93) plus sophomore Billy Kennerly (74.42) and senior Crawford Reeves (74.24).

This will be the fourth time Clemson has played three freshmen in the national tournament. The last time came in 2007 with current PGA Tour pro Kyle Stanley and Tour pros Ben Martin and Sam Saunders in the lineup.

Fourteen teams qualified for each of six regional tournaments, and the top five in each event will advance to the national championship May 28-June 2 at the Capital City Club near Atlanta.

Chip shots

Brent Roof (Columbia) and Paul Tucker (Waxhaw, N.C.), who grew up in the S.C. junior program, outlasted Brian Westveer (Charlotte) and Scott Harvey (Greensboro, N.C.) to win the CGA’s Four-Ball Championship at Camden Country Club. Tucker’s 18-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole decided the tight match in which the largest lead was 1-up. ...

Madison Moosa (Charlotte) edged Sydney Legacy (Lexington) on the second playoff hole to win the CGA’s Vicki DiSantis Junior Girls’ championship in Charlotte. Jensen Castle (West Columbia) tied for third, and Kelsey Badmaev (Blythewood) and Reona Hirai (Summerville) shared sixth. ...

Winners in the Golfweek Amateur Tour tourney at the Members Club’s Woodcreek course: Quentin Yarborough (championship flight), Jared Beard (A flight), Mike Hughes (B Flight), Kip Niekirk (C flight) and Dwight Williams (D flight). Players are placed in flights according to handicaps. ...

Les Bradstreet (Columbia) teamed with Gerry Ayers to win the low net competition in the Pinehurst Member-Guest tourney on Pinehurst’s No. 4 course. ...

Roy Franz, an apprentice assistant pro at Daniel Island Club, won the Carolinas Open at Bryan Park near Greensboro, N.C. Other S.C. players in top 20: Steve Larick (Lexington) and Mike Lawrence (Anderson) tied for eighth, and Rohan Allwood (Columbia) and Adam Lescalleet (Hilton Head Island) shared 15th. ...

In U.S. Open local qualifying, players with local ties advancing to sectionals include Kyle Thompson (Greenville), Cody Proveaux (Lexington) and Dalton Ward (Sumter).

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