Upstate Opens Spring Season at Charleston Shootout
Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's golf team has left the winter behind and begins the spring season on the coast of South Carolina, playing in the Charleston Shootout at the Links at Stono Ferry in Hollywood, S.C., Monday and Tuesday.
The Links at Stono Ferry is a par-72 course and plays at 6,616 yards. Upstate is making its second-straight appearance in the Charleston Shootout. Last season, the Spartans finished tied for eighth out of 15 teams. Josh Gallman led the way for Upstate, finishing tied for fourth.
Upstate is one of 15 teams in the tournament this week co-hosted by the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern. The tournament field consists of Baylor, Campbell, Charleston Southern, College of Charleston, Gardner-Webb, High Point, Longwood, Navy, Newberry, Presbyterian, Radford, USC Upstate, Stetson, Villanova and Western Kentucky. Campbell, Stetson and Upstate represent the A-Sun in the tournament.
Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will send the lineup of Brad Sill, Brian Horton, Matthew Hopper, Nelson Dickson and Kevin Hentz into action. Sill, Horton and Hopper have been mainstays in the lineup throughout the season. Dickson has played in one tournament this year, while Hentz, a fifth-year senior, is making his first collegiate appearance.
Sill tops the Spartans with a 73.1 stroke average. He has been the most consistent of the Upstate golfers on the season. Hopper and Horton each own a 76.1 stroke average as the second-lowest Spartans on the team. Hopper owns a top-five finish on the season, while Horton won his first career title a year ago at the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic.
Looking Back at the Stetson Invitational
Brad Sill turned in his best career finish with a second-place effort to lead Upstate to a tie for third place in the Stetson Invitational to close out the fall in early November. Sill turned in rounds of 70, 68 and 73 to post a 5-under-par total to finish second by just one stroke. His play, and that of a Matthew Hopper who carded a 71 in the final round, helped the Spartans post three rounds under 300 and secure the team's top performance of the fall. Hopper finished 12th individually, giving Upstate two players in the top 15.Adam Goins turned in a strong fall and finished tied for 17th in his best effort of the season. The Spartans turned in a score of 292 in each of the first two rounds before carding a 294 to finish with a 54-hole total of 878. The Spartans tied Stetson and were 11 strokes back of Jacksonville State in second. Florida Gulf Coast won the team title.
Recapping the Fall
After turning in inconsistent performances in the first three tournaments of the fall, Upstate turned the corner in the final two events to build momentum heading into the spring season. The Spartans opened the year by finishing 15th at the Springhill Suites Intercollegiate. They finished tied for ninth at the Sea Trail Intercollegiate before tallying a 10th-place effort at the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate. Then, Upstate struck the right cord and, led by Matthew Hopper's third-place finish, claimed a tie for sixth at the Davidson Invitational. The Spartans closed out the fall by tying for third at the Stetson Invitational with Brad Sill claiming second, individually.
Sill Vaults to Top of the Heap
One tournament after teammate Matthew Hopper turned in a third-place showing at the Davidson Invitational, Brad Sill finished one spot better, taking second place at the Stetson Invitational to close out the fall season. It capped a strong fall for the sophomore and first-year Spartan who leads the team with a 73.1 stroke average.
Hopper Steady in Progression
Matthew Hopper certainly came along tournament-by-tournament in the fall. He began the season with a 227 total at the Springhill Suites Intercollegiate and followed that with a 222 at the Sea Trail Intercollegiate. He improved to a 218 at the Mizuno Savannah Invitational, then finished at 214 to claim a career-best third-place finish with a 214 total at the Davidson Invitational. He claimed a 12th-place finish at the Stetson Invitational to close out the fall with back-to-back top 15 finishes. With a strong performance in the fall, he is expected to lead the Spartans this spring.
Oref Makes History At Sea Trail
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.