South Carolina posted three steady scores to advance to Match Play at the SEC Championship being played on St. Simons Island.
The Gamecocks started the final round of stroke play in the 8th and final qualifying spot to advance to the weekend Match Play bracket.
After a difficult start USC rallied to move up from the 8th position to 7th place 1-shot in front of Texas A&M and 5-shots clear of 9th place Auburn.
The Gamecock rally was led by Jamie Wilson. The USC super-senior shot a final round 2-under par 68 on the par 70 Seaside Course.
Wilson moved up to 5th place individually, but also helped the team stay within the top-8 for Match Play.
Ryan Hall, who is on the Haskins Award Watch List, also shot a 2-under par 68 after playing his first 2-rounds at 5 over par.
As a team the Gamecocks made 14 birdies on the last 12 holes to lock up the 7th spot to advance and to stay in the hunt for the conference title.
“Jamie played great – so proud of him,” said Gamecock head coach Bill McDonald. “Ryan Hall, who hasn’t had his best game this week, somehow figured out a way to finish tied for 12th and make some clutch birdies coming down the stretch. All the guys fought hard,” said the USC coach.
The Gamecocks will face Alabama in the opening round of the matches. The Crimson Tide finished second to Georgia in the stroke play portion of the championship.
The Bulldogs moved past the second round leader by shooting a 3-under par 277 to tie for the best team round of the championship and to finish 8-shots in front of the Crimson Tide.
The first round pairing sets up USC and Alabama in the men’s championship just as it did in the women’s match play bracket. In the women’s championship Alabama shocked the nationally top-ranked Gamecocks in a first round match.
Alabama finished stroke play 5 shots better than USC. Setting Georgia aside, in the 8-team bracket, the 2nd to 8th qualifying teams are only separated by 6-shots.
“Now we’re onto match play, so it’s anybody’s game. We’re starting fresh tomorrow, so that’s something that we’re looking forward to,” said McDonald.
Segundo Pinto from Arkansas won the individual stroke play title shooting a final round 2-under par 68 for a 6-under par 204 total.
Georgia’s Spencer Ralston was second at 4-under par while his Bulldog teammate Davis Thompson was third at 2-under par.
Georgia’s Trent Phillips from Boiling Springs bounced back from an 8-over par second round to shoot his second even par round and finished tied for 39th.
SEC Scores from GolfStat http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=22778