COLUMBIA, SC Sept. 5, 2015 — For the second-straight year, the South Carolina men’s golf team is ranked No. 7 in Golfweek’s preseason countdown of the top 30 Division I programs, Golfweek announced Saturday.
The Gamecocks are coming off one of the greatest seasons in school history as they won a school-record five tournament titles, recorded a school-record 10 top-five finishes and shattered the school record for team scoring average in a season by more than four strokes (282.85) in 2014-15. The Gamecocks wrapped up the year ranked No. 6 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings and No. 7 in the Golfstat Relative Rankings.
Carolina returns seven golfers from a squad that finished tied for second at the SEC Championship and runner-up at the NCAA Bremerton Regional to earn its third-straight trip to the NCAA Championship. The Gamecocks return a pair of All-Americans in seniors Will Starke (second team Golfweek and PING) and Matt NeSmith (third team Golfweek and PING). Starke matched the school record for top-five finishes in a single season a year ago with six and set the school record for single-season scoring average (70.27). NeSmith, who’s average last season of 70.51 ranks second in school history, became the second Gamecock to win an SEC title as he claimed a six-stroke victory at the SEC Championship with a school-record 54-hole total of 196 (-14).
Senior Sean Kelly will also help lead the way after playing in 11 tournaments last season and recording five top-20 finishes.
The Gamecocks open the 2015-16 season on Sept. 11-13 at the Carpet Capital Collegiate. The 54-hole event will be played at The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face, Ga. Carolina is the defending tournament champion.