NeSmith leads Gamecocks; Dorn co-medalist at Hootie

nesmithFor the second time in his career, Coastal Carolina’s Andrew Dorn was co-medalist as the senior finished in a three-way tie for first at the Hootie @ Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, played at Bulls Bay Golf Club (par 72, 7,364 yards).

Dorn was the clubhouse leader as 18th-ranked Gavin Green (New Mexico) and 43rd-ranked Matthew NeSmith (South Carolina) each birdied the final hole to force the playoff. On the first playoff hole, all three players had birdie putts lip out. Dorn had a bogey on the second playoff hole and NeSmith went on to win the playoff with a par on the third playoff hole.

Host and fifth-ranked South Carolina won the team title with a 54-hole total of 838 (26-under par). The event also featured six other ranked teams including #29 New Mexico (placed 3rd), #22 Virginia (4th), #10 Auburn (5th-tied), #50 Duke (7th), #24 Wake Forest (8th) and #41 North Carolina State (11th).

Coastal Carolina carded a 4-under par round of 284 but still fell three spots and tied for ninth in the 15-team field. The Chants had two rounds under par and its 861 (3-under par) three-day total it the team’s best of the season by 16 strokes. The Chants also finished ahead of Big South foes Winthrop (14th) and Charleston Southern (15th).

Dorn shot a career-low 205 (67-69-69) which also ties for the sixth-best 54-hole score in program history. The West Chester, Ohio, native had a birdie on the par five 2nd hole but gave that back with a bogey on the par three 3rd. However, Dorn bounced right back with a birdie on the par five 4th hole. He reeled off eight straight pars before posting birdies on the 13th and 15th holes. Dorn dropped a shot on the par four 16th but had a birdie on the par three 17thand closed his round with a par for a 3-under 69.

Dorn, who had a bogey-free round on the first day, now has five career top five finishes, 11 career rounds in the 60’s and 39 career rounds of par or better.

Dorn was co-medalist at the 2014 General Hackler Championship, sharing the title with Kent State’s Corey Connors as both carded a 54-hole score of even par 216. (It was predetermined that no playoff would be contested at the 2014 Hackler.)

This marks the first time Dorn has shot three rounds in the 60’s at an event and just the second time he had three rounds under par at an event, shooting 71-69-69 at the 2013 ETSU Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at The Ridges.

While Dorn was the star of the event for Coastal, Ben Wheeler was the star of the day. The senior posted a season-low 67 and rocketed up 14 spots to tie for 14th with a 54-hole score of 4-under par 212 (68-76-67). Wheeler posted a bogey-free round Tuesday with birdies on holes 4, 7, 10, 11 and 13.

Wheeler records his sixth top 20 finish in eight events this season. He now has 14 career rounds in the 60’s and 39 career rounds of par or better.

Ryan Carpenter (75-75-73) and Olle Widegren (71-77-75) each tied for 53rd with a three-day total of 223. Alfredo Ruiz posted a75 for the second consecutive day and tied for 61st with a 227 (77-75-75).

The Chanticleers will return to action April 4-5 to play in the annual 3M Augusta Invitational at Forest Hills Golf Club.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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