When freshman Scott Stevens first joined the golf team at South Carolina, he hoped he’d get a chance to play. Now, he hopes to make an impact in the postseason.
Stevens, from Chattanooga, Tenn., has not only played in every event this season with the Gamecocks, he’s placed in the top 10 in five consecutive tournaments. Despite his success, Stevens admits he didn’t know what to expect when he came to USC.
“I was a little nervous, just because I was five hours from home and it was a big change for me,” Stevens said. “They had a really good team last year and they had three seniors that had played a lot, so I knew it was going to be tough to qualify.”
Stevens recalls being nervous for his first tournament, the Carpet Capital Collegiate in Rocky Face, Ga., where he tied for 14th and had the second-best score for the Gamecocks.
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“I played well there and I was super nervous. I didn’t know what to expect because it was my first college event,” he said.
Once Stevens secured his starting role, his play gained momentum. At the Valspar Collegiate Invitational in Palm City, Fla., he finished 2-over par and tied for 10th.
“It was a really tough field. A lot of good teams and players in that,” Stevens said. “I was able to finish well there. That was my third top 10 in a row, so I was really happy and it kind of motivated me to keep practicing hard.”
USC coach Bill McDonald said Stevens’ ability to handle pressure is a major factor in his success.
“Scott has the ability to strike the ball as well as anyone in the country,” McDonald said. “He’s also been able to handle playing well in the most extreme pressure situations. He just had a knack for elevating his game when the bell rings and it’s been really fun to watch this year.”
Although Stevens didn’t play as well as he wanted to in the SEC Championship, he’s optimistic for the remainder of the postseason.
“We won three of the last four tournaments before SECs, so we had high expectations and we were hoping to win, but we didn’t play our best and we finished tenth,” Stevens said. “I mean, golf happens, so it was tough. I think it was really motivating for us now, because we know what we have to do to play well at regionals and hopefully make it to nationals.”
USC will be playing in the NCAA regional at Tuscaloosa, Ala., starting Monday.