Interviews with Palmetto Intercollegiate winner Will Miles and USC golf coach Bill McDonald.
The South Carolina Gamecocks broke all the records at the Cleveland Golf – Palmetto Intercollegiate and shattered one of their own school records on the way to a team title and an individual win.
South Carolina finished with an almost unbelievable 35 shot victory. The performance broke the event scoring record and set a new school record when they finished at 813.
“We have been trending in the right direction, but I didn’t see us winning by this kind of margin or playing this great,” said USC coach Bill McDonald.
Senior Will Miles lead from wire to wire to record his first college victory. Miles finished nine shots in front of two of his teammates who tied for second place.
“This was an awesome week for our guys. They just love this golf course and this tournament. A lot of things fell in place for us,” said McDonald.
South Carolina finished the first day (36 holes) with a 17 shot lead over the field. Going into the final round the only team that could beat the Gamecocks was the Gamecocks.
“We just wanted to play better in the final round. You could be seven over after the first seven holes out here if you are not careful,” said the USC coach.
Instead of giving ground and coasting in the final round, the Gamecocks added to their already insurmountable lead. USC was the only team to finish the final round under par.
South Carolina broke the team scoring record they set when they won the 2016 Palmetto Intercollegiate championship. USC posted a 27 under par team total to better their score from three years ago by 9 shots.
In addition to the team setting records so did the individual champion.
Miles put his name in the record book for the lowest winning individual score with rounds of 64-65 and 68 for a 197 total and a nine shot win. He broke the individual tournament scoring record set by Alabama’s Bud Cauley and USC’s Will Starke by four shots.
“I played well all week and I am really excited to get my first college win,” said the senior from Hilton Head.
Miles shot his way into the lead while paired with two other Hilton Head area golfers. Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer and Virginia’s Andrew Orischack and Miles grew up playing junior golf together.
“I could not have asked for a better pairing. We are all friends and we had a really good time playing together,” said the winner.
McDonald believed that the head to head competition with two of Miles’ old friends brought out his best game.
“It was a little extra motivation for him. He certainly has the skill to play at a high level and he has the second half of the season off to a good start with the win,” said McDonald.
Miles knew he had the lead, but was not watching the scoreboard in the final round. He didn’t ask anyone about scores until he was on the 18th tee.
“I just kept my head down, stayed focused and tried to stick to my process,”: Miles said.
The Gamecocks placed four golfers in the top-five. Ryan Stachler and Scott Stevens tied for second place. The USC seniors each shot 206 for the 54-hole event.
Junior Caleb Proveaux finished in a tie for fifth place and their fifth player, Jaime Wilson, tied for 19th and contributed a counting score in the final round.
“We have three great seniors who want to finish their careers on a strong note and they all played well,” said McDonald.
With a record-setting performance on their resume McDonald expects the success at Aiken to help the Gamecock the rest of the season.
“There is nothing like winning. You don’t get a chance to win a whole lot in this business so you got to enjoy it while you can. This win is something we can build on for the rest of the year,” concluded the USC coach.
Complete Scoring at http://results.golfstat.com//public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=16355