Hopper Finishes 3rd, Upstate 6th At Davidson Invitational
Davidson, N.C. – Coming out of Gaffney high School, sophomore Matthew Hopper had a reputation for having a tremendous amount of skill and loads of potential. Tuesday, he fired his second-straight round under par to finish 2-under for the tournament and claim his first top five and top 10 individual showing by finishing tied for third at the Davidson invitational. His performance helped Upstate move up two places on the leaderboard and into sixth place to finish the tournament.
Hopper opened the tournament with a 3-over-par 75 on Monday morning, but got back to even par with a 69 Monday afternoon. He again went low for the Spartans, carding a 70 on Wednesday to play the final 36 holes of the tournament at 5-under. He was 1-over-par through his first five holes, but made three-straight birdies, starting on the sixth hole, and came home with his 70.
Hopper's play, and a strong round of 71 from Brian Horton (Boiling Springs, S.C.) helped Upstate shoot a 294, its lowest round of the tournament. The Spartans started the day in eighth place, but finished sixth out of 13 teams.
"It was a great performance by Matthew," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton. "He stayed patient throughout the whole tournament. Even when he missed a shot, he stayed with it. He was solid all day today and watching him, you knew he was playing well. Brian really helped us as well. He made some really good shots and gave us a second great score. When you have two great scores, it really helps your position."
Wofford claimed the team championship with a 54-hole total of 869. Western Carolina was second at 882 and was followed by College of Charleston (883), Cincinnati (886), Guilford (886), Upstate (889), Davidson (891), Radford (893), Gardner-Webb (895), Presbyterian College (897), High Point (904), Elon (913) and Appalachian State (926). Wofford's Brent Whitehead claimed the individual championship with a 4-under-par total, just two strokes ahead of Hopper.
"This was a good field and a huge step forward for our team," said Lawton. "It was a challenge to keep up with the pack. To move up on the leaderboard was really good for us. To be able to play nine different players in four tournaments this year and keep improving from event to event is a good thing."
Horton had carded back-to-back rounds of 76 on Monday, but lowered his score by five strokes on Tuesday to finish with a 71. It was the second-lowest round of the day for Upstate. He finished tied for 24th. Spartanburg's Brad Sill claimed a top 15 finish with a 75 on Tuesday. He finished tied for 15th at 5-over. Nelson Dickson (Spartanburg), playing his first collegiate tournament, finished tied for 53rd with a 233 total, while Adam Goins (Gaffney, S.C.) finished tied for 58th in his first time in the lineup for the Spartans.