Lawrence Leads Spartans At A-Sun Championships
Braselton, Ga. - Michael Lawrence opened the 2010 A-Sun Championships with an even-par 72 on the day, but USC Upstate gave away several shots in the closing holes and stands seventh after the first round on the Legends Course at Chateau Elan Monday afternoon.
Upstate hovered around 5-over-par for most of the round before struggling on the final few holes to finish at 300, 12-over for the round. The Spartans will start the second round Tuesday morning at 8:45, playing with Kennesaw State and Stetson.
Despite giving away shots to the field, Upstate remains in the hunt for a strong finish. The Spartans are just three strokes out of sixth and only 10 strokes separate Upstate from second place.
"We are in a position where we have to play two rounds of great golf to move up the leaderboard," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton. "This golf course is very challenging visually and demands that we commit to our shots. I feel good about our ability to do that. That will give us more opportunities for birdies, and that is what it's going to take."
East Tennessee State opened the tournament with a 7-under-par 281 to take the lead by nine shots. The Buccaneers had two players, Rhys Enoch and Seamus Power, shoot 69 on the day to lead the Bucs to the first round lead. Both players are tied for the lead, one stroke ahead of Campbell's Mitch Gray.
Mercer finished the day with a 290 to take second place after the first round and is followed by North Florida (291), Florida Gulf Coast (292), Campbell (295), Jacksonville (297), Upstate (300), Kennesaw State (301), Stetson (310), Belmont (311) and Lipscomb (326).
Lawrence was strong throughout the day. Playing the back nine first, he turned at 3-under and moved to 4-under after birdying the par-4 first hole, his 10th. However, he made bogey on five of the next seven holes before getting a shot back on the par-5 ninth, his 18th hole, to finish even par. Despite the struggles coming in, Lawrence was on his game throughout the day and is set to battle for his second straight top 10 finish in the championship after finishing tied for eight last year. He will enter the second round Tuesday tied for eighth.
"Michael got off to a fast start and hit the ball great," said Lawton. "His tempo and pace was Michael at his best. Even though he made a few bogeys coming in, his round was strong. He can see that he can go low over the next two days."
Josh Gallman scrambled throughout the round and posted a 2-over 74 to open the tournament. He went out in 2-over before playing his back nine at even par. He is tied for 18th entering the second round. He posted 12 pars on the day. Irvin went out at 4-over, but rallied to play his final nine holes at 1-over. After birdying his 12th hole of the day, Horton stood 1-over, but fell back coming in.
Nate Irvin and Brian Horton, both playing in their first A-Sun Championship, each finished with 77 Monday. They are tied for 33rd. Matthew Hopper, who is also playing in his first A-Sun Championship, carded an 85.