Spartanburg, S.C. – Looking for that one combination of players to provide a consistent approach and lower scores, USC Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will send his fourth different lineup into action for the Davidson Invitational Monday and Tuesday.
The Davidson Invitational is a 13-team tournament with a strong regional flavor. Joining Upstate in the tournament is Appalachian State, Cincinnati, College of Charleston, Davidson, Elon, Gardner-Webb, Guilford, High Point, Presbyterian College, Radford, Western Carolina and Wofford.
The Davidson Invitational will be played at the 7,208-yard, par 72 River Run Country Club. It was renovated in 2007 and has been recognized by Golf Reporter as one of the finest courses in the Southeast. The tournament is a 54-hole event with 36 holes being played on Monday and 18 on Tuesday. Liberty, which is not in the tournament this year, won last year's Davidson Invitational, while Wofford came in second. This is Upstate's first appearance in the tournament.
Upstate will send the lineup of Brian Horton, Brad Sill, Matthew Hopper, Adam Goins and Nelson Dickson into action this week. Horton is coming off of a 19th-place finish at the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate last week in his first tournament of the season. Goins also made his season debut last week, playing as an individual. He makes his debut in the lineup at Davidson. Dickson will make his college debut at Davidson. After beginning his collegiate career at Presbyterian as a basketball player, he transferred to Upstate and has earned a spot on the golf team. He got a late start to his golf career, picking up the game as a college student. His progress has been remarkable and has played his way into the lineup this week.
Upstate will be paired with Radford and Wofford on Monday, starting on holes 5-8 in a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. The final round tee times will be determined by the results of Monday's action.
Looking Back At The Mizuno Savannah
Upstate shot three sub-300 rounds to finish 10th out of 14 teams in the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate last week at the Savannah Quarters Country Club in Pooler, Ga. The course was the same course where Upstate advanced out of NCAA Division II Regionals and into the Nationals in 2007. The Spartans went on to finish runner-up for the national championship. Brian Horton, seeing his first tournament action of the year, was the low Spartan, finishing tied for 19th at 1-over-par in what was a solid field. Matthew Hopper also claimed a top 25 position, finishing tied for 23rd at 2-over. Freshman Adam Goins played in his first collegiate tournament as an individual and claimed a tie for 55th.
Sill A Model of
Sophomore and Spartanburg native Brad Sill has certainly shown consistency on the course this season. After opening his Upstate career with a 69 in the first round of the season-opening Springhill Suites Intercollegiate, he has been remarkably consistent. He has shot seven of the next eight rounds with scores ranging from 71 to 75. He finished the Springhill Suites Intercollegiate with a 222 total, then finished with back-to-back 221 totals at the Sea Trail Intercollegiate and the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate.
Hopper Coming Along
After turning in a 227 in the season-opening Springhill Suites Intercollegiate, sophomore Matthew Hopper has turned in better and better performances. He lowered his tournament total by five strokes in the Sea Trail intercollegiate, carding a 222 total. He then lowered that effort by four strokes in the next tournament, finishing with a 218 total and a top 25 finish in the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate. He ranks second on the Spartans with a 74.1 stroke average for all players who have played in all three tournaments.
Oref Makes History At Sea
Sophomore McKenzie Oref learned a lot from playing with former Upstate standout Josh Gallman last year. Gallman is the best player to ever play in the history of the men's golf program. But, Oref can claim one achievement that Gallman cannot, owning the school record for the lowest round under par. Oref tied Gallman with a 66 as the lowest score in program history, but his 6-under total is the most under par at Upstate. Gallman's 66 came on a par-71 course and was 5-under.
Gallman, Lawrence Set To Start PGA Q School
Former USC Upstate standout golfers Josh Gallman and Michael Lawrence are set to open the First Stage of PGA Q School this week. Both players finished their Upstate careers in May and turned pro in the same tournament, finishing 1-2 with Gallman winning the River Falls event on the Carolina Mountain Tour. The pair will play in the First Stage of Q School at the Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, N.C., Oct. 19-22.