The Gamecock junior shot rounds of 65-64 and 67 to finish at 14 under par and claim a six shot victory.
NeSmith led from start to finish of the tournament played at Sea Island Golf Club’s Sea Side Course. He was tied after the first round, held a one shot lead after 36 holes and ran away from the field to claim his second straight tournament victory.
“I played well all week,” said the new SEC champion. “I never got in any bad spots, I was just solid and it was easy. It was fun and I enjoyed it,” he said as he has now shot seven straight rounds in the 60s.
NeSmith made it look easy as he didn’t make a bogey until the 14th hole in the final round.
The SEC tournament was a continuation of the fine play the North Augusta golf began with his victory at the Hootie Tournament just before the SEC.
“Getting a win was a huge goal of mine. I got in rhythm and just thought if I did it a week ago I could do it again,” said NeSmith.
NeSmith is the second individual SEC champion for the Gamecocks. Eric Ecker was the medalist in the 1998 tournament.
“As far as Matt NeSmith is concerned that was some of the best golf I have ever seen,” said USC head coach Bill McDonald. “I had the pleasure of watching all three rounds and congratulations to him. It’s wonderful how he played,” said the Gamecock coach.
NeSmith topped Auburn’s Ben Schlottman who finished second and Alabama’s Robby Shelton who was two shots further back in third place.
The Gamecock team finished in a tie for second place with Vanderbilt. The two teams were 10-under par for the tournament. LSU won the team title with a 13-under par total. This was the fourth time USC has finished as the runner-up in the conference tournament.
“The team put us in contention and we were right there,” said Gamecock coach Bill McDonald. “We had a chance on the back nine. Our guys played well,” he added.
With a school record five wins this year and a second place finish in the SEC Tournament the Gamecocks will next play in an NCAA Regional. The Regional assignments will be made on May 5th.
The NCAA Regionals will be played at six locations around the country from May 14-16th.