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May 1, 2012

Spurrier, Sharpe earn $20,000 for USC



GREENSBORO, Ga. -- Steve Spurrier and Sterling Sharpe played bogey-free golf throughout 18 holes on Tuesday at the Chick-fil-A Bowl Golf Challenge at Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee.

But after a quick start featuring three birdies on the first four holes, Spurrier and Sharpe fell into a par-only rut over the final eight holes (and nine of the final 10) and finished with a six-under par score of 66, good for an eighth-place tie with four other schools.

Spurrier and Sharpe won $20,000 for USC's general scholarship fund. The 15 participating teams shared a $520,000 scholarship purse, while another $243,000 was distributed to charitable organizations.

The Georgia Tech duo of Paul Johnson and Jon Barry captured the day-long tournament on the Oconee Course for the second straight year with a 10-under par 62, one shot better than Florida State (Jimbo Fisher and Terrell Buckley) and Maryland (Randy Edsall and Stan Gelbaugh), which tied for second place by posting scores of nine-under par 63.

Teamed with North Carolina's Larry Fedora and Roy Williams (part of five-way tie for 8th), USC was in the hunt after nine holes, trailing by just two shots at the turn with an impressive five-under (31) following the shotgun start.

Spurrier and Sharpe posted five birdies and four pars over the opening nine holes. They started the back nine in good shape with a birdie on No. 10 to move to six-under. But that's where they stayed for the rest of the afternoon with the eight straight pair to close out the round.

One bizarre shot defined their fate over the final nine holes. Spurrier putted for birdie on No. 17, but the ball circled the lip of the cup for more than a full rotation before spinning out.

When the ball spun out, Sharpe exclaimed the misfortune on the shot was an exclamation point on how the afternoon had gone for he and Spurrier.

FINAL STANDINGS:
Georgia Tech (Johnson and Barry)- 62 (10-under)($125,000)
Florida State (Fisher and Buckley) - 63 (9-under)($55,000)
Maryland (Edsall and Gelbaugh) - 63 (9-under)($55,000)
Virginia Tech (Beamer and Curry) - 64 (8-under)($35,000)
Miss. State (Mullen and McCrary) - 64 (8-under)($35,000)
Alabama (Saban and Musso) - 65 (7-under)($25,000)
Ohio State (Meyer and Logan) - 65 (7-under)($25,000)
South Carolina (Spurrier and Sharpe) - 66 (6-under)($20,000)
Miami (Golden and Torretta) - 66 (6-under)($20,000)
North Carolina (Fedora and Williams) - 66 (6-under)($20,000)
Ole Miss (Freeze and Tuohy) - 66 (6-under)($20,000)
Tennessee (Dooley and Morgan) - 66 (6-under)($20,000)
Wake Forest (Grobe and Skinner) - 67 (5-under)($15,000)
Clemson (Sweeney and Fuller) - 71 (1-under)($15,000)
NC State (O'Brien and Gugliotta) - 71 (1-under)($15,000)

Past Champions:
2012 - Georgia Tech (Paul Johnson/Jon Barry)
2011 - Georgia Tech (Paul Johnson/Jon Barry)
2010 - Florida State (Jimbo Fisher/Terrell Buckley)
2009 - South Carolina (Steve Spurrier/Sterling Sharpe)
2008 - South Carolina (Steve Spurrier/Sterling Sharpe)
2007 - Virginia Tech (Frank Beamer/Dell Curry)

GILMORE UNDAUNTED: When Stephon Gilmore received his draft grade from the NFL Undergraduate Advisory Committee in December, he was informed that if he left school a year early, he was projected as a third round choice. Undaunted, Gilmore moved forward with his plans to leave school and prepared diligently for the NFL Combine. Those efforts paid off when he ran a 4.4 in the 40 and showed supreme skills as a NFL-caliber cornerback. Last week, he was drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 10 overall pick.

"Stephon made a huge leap," Spurrier said Tuesday during a break at the Chick-fil-A Bowl Golf Challenge. "He was projected third round in December when we filled out the papers. So that shows you the NFL people who do the projections aren't always right either. It's an individual decision. We try to give the facts the best we can to the players who are thinking about leaving after three years and let them make the call. Stephon felt like he could advance and he did it as far as the Combine."

USC had six players drafted - three in the first two rounds - falling one short of the modern record of seven draftees set in 2009. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery followed first rounders Gilmore and Melvin Ingram by being selected by the Chicago Bears midway through the second round.

"It was good draft for us," Spurrier said. "I thought Alshon would be a first-rounder. I think he is going to be a very good player in the NFL. Melvin was up there, but maybe could have gone a little higher. But one or two teams took some different guys. I think they made some mistakes. They should have taken Melvin, but they took some defensive linemen type guys. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's all opinion. Time will tell how good of players they all become."

NOTES:

* Spurrier said it will be a "little different" playing Georgia in Week 6 as opposed to the customary Week 2 slot. "We'll have four or five games of tape to watch on them and they'll have the same thing on us," he said. "It should be a heckuva game and should be important in terms of who wins the East."

* Comedy moment: Spurrier was asked by an Atlanta TV reporter for his thought on USC quarterback 'Jaybo Shaw.' Spurrier again praised Connor Shaw, saying "He's a good player and really played extremely well in the last three games of the season. He was very good down the stretch and hopefully he'll be even better this coming season."

* Spurrier said the Atlanta area is fertile recruiting territory for the Gamecocks because USC is located about 2-1/2 to three hours away for most players in the area.

* Spurrier expressed his support for a four-team playoff currently being discussed by BCS executives, and suggested he would like to see the format increased to eight teams at some point.

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D. McCallum


South Carolina NEWS

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