Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's golf team opens play at the 2011 A-Sun Championship Monday morning on the Chateau Course at the Chateau Elan Resort in Braselton, Ga. Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will look to regain the momentum the team garnered early in the spring season.
Upstate and 10 other A-Sun schools will play in the conference tournament. Joining Upstate will be Belmont, Campbell, East Tennessee State, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Mercer, North Florida and Stetson. The A-Sun field is strong with six teams ranked in the top 100 in the latest rankings released by GolfWeek.com. North Florida is ranked 43rd and is followed by Kennesaw State (50th), Florida Gulf Coast (74th), ETSU (81st), Campbell (91st) and Mercer (99th). Upstate is currently ranked No. 154 with three A-Sun schools behind it.
The Chateau Course plays at 7,030 yards and is a par-71 layout. While the A-Sun Championship returns to Chateau Elan for the second straight year, it is the first time the tournament is being played on the Chateau Course. Last year, the tournament was played on the Legends Course.
Upstate claimed sixth place in last year's tournament, turning in rounds of 300, 299 and 291. Josh Gallman finished third with a 2-under-par total, four strokes back of East Tennessee State's Seamus Power. Brian Horton and Matthew Hopper are the only two players in this year's tournament who played in last year's Championship. Horton finished tied for 36th and Hopper was tied for 52nd in 2010. In the Spartans' first appearance in the A-Sun Championship in 2009, Upstate finished seventh. The Spartans turned in rounds of 294, 296 and 303 at Keith Hills Country Club in Buies Creek, N.C. No Spartan in this year's lineup played in the 2009 event.
Upstate started the spring off in solid fashion, finishing eighth at the Charleston Shootout before winning the tournament championship at the Caribbean Classic with freshman Adam Goins taking medalist honors. The Spartans finished third in the 24-team C&F Bank Intercollegiate. However, Upstate finished 14th and 12th at the River Landing Intercollegiate and Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational heading into the A-Sun Championship this week.
Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will send his eighth different lineup in 12 tournaments this year into the A-Sun Championship this week. He has put Goins, Tyler Comer, Hopper, Brad Sill and Horton into the lineup this week. He will count on the experience of Horton and Hopper from last year's A-Sun Championship and the solid play throughout the year from Sill, Goins and Comer to deliver results this week. The team is averaging 296.5 per round this season.
Looking to Regain the Swing
After opening the spring season finishing eighth out of 15 teams at the Charleston Shootout, Upstate won the Caribbean Intercollegiate. Upstate then played the General Hackler Championship with several nationally-ranked teams and claimed a 13th-place finish. A strong third-place finish in the C&F Bank Intercollegiate seemed to cement the fact that the team had come together and was ready for a strong finish. However, the Spartans have turned in a 14th-place finish in the River Landing Intercollegiate and a 12th-place finish in the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational. Spartan head coach Todd Lawton hopes the team regroups and returns to the type of play it turned in early in the spring season.
Veterans Return to the Lineup
Looking to provide a spark, head coach Todd Lawton is sending his eighth different lineup into action this week at the A-Sun Championships. And, the five players are veterans on the course. Despite being a freshman, Adam Goins has a tournament win to his credit and has been a regular in the lineup since the middle of the fall season. Matthew Hopper and Brad Sill are the only two players to have played all 32 rounds of the season. Brian Horton won an individual title last year and has played in more than half the tournament rounds this season, while Tyler Comer saw action early in the fall and came on string to play in the last four events this spring.
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.
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.