Spartans Look to Carry Momentum into General Hackler Invitational
Spartanburg, S.C. - Coming off of its school-record performance and team championship at the Caribbean Intercollegiate earlier in the week, the USC Upstate men's golf team returns to action Sunday morning in one of the most prestigious tournaments of the season at the General Hackler Invitational.
The General Hackler Invitational is a 17-team tournament that includes the defending NCAA Champion in Augusta State, five teams that made it to the NCAA Nationals a year ago and three others that advanced to the NCAA Regionals. Joining Upstate in the field is Auburn, Augusta State (2010 National Champions), Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina (2010 Nationals), College of Charleston, East Carolina, East Tennessee State (2010 Nationals), Gardner-Webb, Lamar, North Florida (2010 Regionals), Pepperdine (2010 Nationals), Presbyterian College, Tennessee (2010 Regionals),Upstate, Virginia (2010 Regionals), Wake Forest (2010 Nationals) and Western Carolina.
The General Hackler Invitational is being played on the TPC of Myrtle Beach course. It is a par-72 layout and plays at 6,950 yards. The teams will play 54 holes over two days, beginning with 36 holes on Sunday and finishing with 18 on Monday.
Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will send the lineup of Brad Sill, Matthew Hopper, Brian Horton, Adam Goins and Nelson Dickson into action this week. The five brought home the tournament championship at the Caribbean Intercollegiate earlier this week and have formed a solid lineup since the start of the spring season. Sill continues to lead the way for Upstate, posting a team-best 72.9 stroke average for the year. In a close battle, Hopper is second at 73.5 and is followed by Horton (73.7), Goins (74.6) and Dickson (75.2). Goins claimed the individual title at the Caribbean Classic earlier this week, winning with a 7-under score.
Looking Back at the Caribbean Intercollegiate
Upstate shot a tournament record 17-under-par and posted rounds of 283, 282 and 282 to win the Caribbean Intercollegiate earlier this week for its first tournament championship of the season. Individually, Adam Goins, a freshman from Gaffney, S.C., won his first career tournament with a 7-under total. Upstate was strong from the start and led the tournament wire-to-wire. It was the first win since the Spartans won the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic in Puerto Rico last year. Upstate placed four players in the top 10. In addition to Goins' win, Matthew Hopper (-4) claimed a tie for second, while Brian Horton (-2) finished tied for fifth. Brad Sill (-1) also finished under par and in the top 10, tied for ninth. It marked the first time that Upstate has had four players finish under par in a 54-hole tournament. Upstate dominated play, winning the tournament by 10 strokes, while Goins won the individual title by three shots.
Forming a Strong Lineup
Through the first six tournaments of the season, head coach Todd Lawton used six different lineups. However, he may have found a lineup to count on for the spring season. For the second-straight week, Lawton will send the lineup of Brad Sill, Matthew Hopper, Brian Horton, Adam Goins and Nelson Dickson into action. The five brought home the team championship earlier in the week at the Caribbean Intercollegiate and four of the five played in the Spartans' third-place finish to open the spring at the Charleston Shootout.
Goins Makes History at Caribbean Intercollegiate
In a season of firsts, Adam Goins made history for Upstate when he claimed the individual championship at the Caribbean Intercollegiate (March 6-8). He became the first freshman to ever win an individual title at Upstate, finishing the tournament at 7-under to win by three strokes.
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 72.9 stroke average.
Patience Pays Off for Hentz
The Upstate men's golf program is in its sixth season of existence. One Spartan, Kevin Hentz, has been around for five of them. He was a freshman on the 2006-07 team that claimed a second-place finish in the NCAA Division II National Championships. He received a red-shirt year which enabled him to come back for the 2010-11 season. Prior to this year, he had never suited up for Upstate in a tournament. His patience paid off last week when he teed off for the Spartans in the Charleston Shootout.
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.