Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's golf team will make its second trip to Kiawah Island, S.C., within a two-week period when it plays as one of 21 teams at the Wendy's Kiawah Classic Sunday through Tuesday at the Turtle Point course at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
Upstate will play its third tournament of the fall when it tees it up at the Wendy's Kiawah Classic, previously winning the Rutgers Invitational and finishing tied for ninth at the Invitational at the Ocean Course two weeks ago. The Spartans' appearance in the Invitational took place at the ocean Course on Kiawah Island, one of the world's top courses and the site of the 2012 PGA Championship and former site of the 1991 Ryder Cup.
Upstate will be one of 21 teams in the tournament which starts Sunday. The 21 teams come from 13 different conferences, including the Big Ten, Big East, A-Sun and A-10. Charleston Southern is the host of the tournament. Joining Upstate and Charleston Southern are Boise State, Bradley, Butler, Campbell, Connecticut, George Washington, IUPUI, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Miami (OH), Minnesota, Murray State, Presbyterian College, St. John's, Stetson, Towson, Western Kentucky, William & Mary and Wisconsin.
The Wendy's Kiawah Classic is being held at the Turtle Point course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, widely thought to be the greatest golfer of all time and who current great Tiger Woods is chasing in the record books. Nicklaus' course will play at 7,061 yards and is a par-72 layout.
Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will send the lineup of Adam Goins, Brian Horton, Brad Sill, Tyler Comer and McKenzie Oref into action this week. All five played in the Invitational at the Ocean Course and are set to make the trip back to Kiawah Island for this week's tournament. The Spartans are averaging a 291.7 per round as a team with Goins leading the way with a 72.0 stroke average. Comer is second at 74.2 and is followed by Sill at 74.5, Horton at 74.8 and Oref at 77.3. Goins, Horton, Sill and Comer have played in both tournaments this spring, while Oref saw his first action of the season two weeks ago in the Invitational at the Ocean Course.
Looking Back at the Invitational at the Ocean Course
Adam Goins finsihed with a 4-over-par total and claimed a tie for 15th place at the prestigious Invitational at the Ocean Course two weeks ago on Kiawah Island, S.C. Goins' effort helped propel the Spartans to a tie for ninth in the 12-team tournament which boasted a strong field with six top 100 teams in the nation. After playing the final three holes of the first round at 12-over and finishing with a 305 team total, the Spartans rallied to shoot 292 and 299 in the final two rounds to move up three spots on the leaderboard. Brian Horton finished tied for 37th and Brad Sill was tied for 44th to give the Spartans three in the top 50.
Dickson A No Go
The NCAA ruled last week that senior Nelson Dickson did not have any further eligibility remaining after the 2010-11 season, despite his and the University's appeal for special circumstances. Dickson played just one year of college athletics, for Upstate last year, despite starting college in 2005 and having to drop out of school to work in order to earn the funds necessary to pay for continuing his education. Upstate appealed to get another year of eligibility for 2011-12, but the appeal was denied, thus ending Dickson's tenure on the team.
Spartans in the Rankings
Two tournaments into the season, Upstate finds itself ranked in the top half of the college golf teams in the nation. The Spartans are ranked 118th in the latest Golfweek.com ranking and 123rd by Golfstat. Adam Goins is the highest ranked Upstate player, coming in at No. 276 in the Golfweek.com ranking.
Goins Wins Second Individual Title
Adam Goins defeated teammate Tyler Comer on the first playoff hole to win the individual championship at the Rutgers Invitational to open the 2011-12 season. It marked his second career individual tournament title. He became the first Spartan to win a title as a freshman when he won the Caribbean Classic last year and now has a second this season as a sophomore. He is one of four Spartans in the history of the program to win multiple individual titles, joining all-time greats Josh Gallman, Baxter Culler and Michael Lawrence.
Comer Ties Single-Round School Record
With a 66 in the final round of the Rutgers Invitational, junior Tyler Comer tied the single-round school record. He is now tied with three other Spartans, Josh Gallman, McKenzie Oref and Matthew Hopper for the lowest round in program history.
No Newcomers Here
It is a rarity that a coach does not bring anyone new onto a team in any given year. But, with an experienced and deep team returning to the program in 2011-12, head coach Todd Lawton did not need to bring anyone new into the program. Upstate has no seniors on the team with the roster full of juniors (five) and sophomores (four). The depth on the team is evident. Brad Sill led the Spartans with a 74.2 stroke average a year ago. Three other Spartans averaged less than 75 last year, while seven team members were within 2.5 strokes of Sill's average for the year.