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The University of South Carolina, a blend of Gamecocks and USCL Lancers, posted a comeback win in the 10th annual Big Thursday Scholarship golf tournament at the Lancaster Golf Club on Thursday afternoon.
The USC team, which included golfers sporting USCL royal blue and USC garnet and black, rallied from a 4.5-1.1 deficit to take the comeback victory, 8.5-6.5
The USC golfers charged to pull even and deadlock the match at 6.5 before winning the final two matches to cap the win.
The USC team of Tom Syfan and Mike Goodnough combined to defeat the Clemson duo of Cherie Walters and Jackie Clark for one of the late wins.
Bobby Young and partner Frankie Faile carded a win over Scott Caskey and Bud Cauthen to seal the USC victory.
“There were some good scores with a lot of rounds in the 70s,” said Larry Honeycutt who coordinates the golf tournament for the annual event.
“It came down to the last few holes to decide the win. The golfers are paired by their handicaps, so that’s why it’s so close.”
The USC team won over the Tigers, 8.5-7.5 a year ago. Clemson took a 9.5-5.5 win in 2009.
The popular tournament, which features 60 players – 30 on each team, is part of the Big Thursday, Inc. Scholarship Fund which raises funds for scholarships for Lancaster County students who attend Clemson University and the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.
The Big Thursday theme comes from the early days of the Carolina-Clemson football rivalry when the games, from 1896-1959, were played on Thursday during State Fair week in Columbia.
The archrivals, who play at home in alternating years, meet again Saturday night in Columbia with a 7:45 kickoff.
The USC golf win at the LGC gave the Gamecocks-Lancers an 8-2 lead in the series.
Mother Nature, which has been kind over the years with the tournament weather, wasn’t as favorable early on this year.
“It was a tough day on the links with a mist and light rain to start the tournament, but later the sun came out and it was still cold, but the golfers played through and competed real well,” Honeycutt said.
He added the county students who attend USCL and Clemson are the real winners.
“We compete and the players want to win for their schools, but deep down it’s about the students and boosting higher education in our county. These students are our leaders for tomorrow and their development as leaders is about the education they receive.”
The golf tournament donated $1,363 to the scholarship fund.
Lancaster County Clemson Club president Rodney Thomas noted its club, since 1983, has provided scholarship assistance to approximately 76 students from the four Lancaster County high schools to attend Clemson.
“USCL Dean John Catalano is not a golfer and he will be the first to tell you, but it’s important for him to be out there for the students,” Honeycutt said. “The cause matters most and the scholarship money raised is the most important figure.”
Catalano and teammate Tim Hallman fell to the Clemson combo of Evan and Phil Scott.
“As a team, we had bragging rights today,” Evan Scott said. “I love
playing in this tournament. It’s match play and very competitive. Few
tournaments have a match play format and this really makes it fun.”
Following the tournament, the golfers were treated to a barbecue chicken
dinner as part of the Big Thursday Scholarship Inc. event, which included
Richard Patterson, who coordinates the dinner event, said he’s confident
the scholarship fund will profit from the tournament and dinner event.
“Our record is $35,000 raised with $17,500 to USCL and $17,500 to
Clemson,” Patterson said. “If people and corporations follow through with
the pledges, we strongly feel this will be the best year for Lancaster
County students attending USCL and Clemson.”
Patterson said he urged locals to be a part of the pledge sponsors program.
“We have 45 couples so far and our goal is 100,” he said.
The pledge is $250 annually, which is $5.00 for 50 weeks.
“They can take two weeks off each year for a vacation,” he said. “If we
can get more people to do that, it will make a huge difference. Those who
are interested can make a pledge to Big Thursday, Inc.” story
Contact sports editor Robert Howey at 283-1157