Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's golf team will open play at the A-Sun Championships Monday at the Chateau Elan Golf Club and Resort, vying for the conference championship on the Legends Course.
The Legends Course plays at 6,971 yards and is a par-72 layout. Three golfing legends, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Kathy Whitworth, consulted on the design of the course. The A-Sun Championship is a 54-hole event with 18 holes being played each day, Monday-Wednesday.
North Florida is the top-ranked team in the tournament, coming in at No. 8 in the latest Golfstat ranking. The Ospreys are followed by Kennesaw State (No. 41), Florida Gulf Coast (No. 88), Mercer (No. 89), ETSU (No. 112), Jacksonville (No. 144), Upstate (No. 152), Belmont (No. 203), Stetson (No. 221) and Lipscomb (No. 244).
Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will send the lineup of Adam Goins, Brian Horton, Tyler Comer, Brad Sill and Matthew Hopper in to the A-Sun Championships Monday. The four players are the most seasoned on the team and have seen the most tournament action this season. Goins, Horton and Comer have played in every event this season.
Goins tops the team with a 73.5 stroke average and a tournament win. He is tied for the team lead with two top 10 finishes. Horton is second on the team with a 74.9 stroke average and has one top 10 finish. Comer is third on the team with a 75.9 stroke average and has one top five finish, tying Goins for first after regulation play at the Rutgers Invitational. Hopper is tied with Comer with a 75.9 stroke average and is tied with Goins with two top 10 finishes on the year. Sill is 0.1 strokes behind at 76.0. The team averages 296.8 per round this season.
Spartans at the A-Sun Championships
Upstate will compete in the A-Sun Championships for the fourth time since moving to the A-Sun in 2007-08 and will look to improve on its standing in the event. The team was not allowed top play in the tournament in 2008, its first year in the A-Sun. The Spartans finished seventh in its first conference tournament in 2009. They claimed a sixth-place finish in 2010 playing on the Legends Course at Chateau Elan, the site of this year's championships. Last season, Upstate claimed a tie for sixth with Florida Gulf Coast. The team posted its two-lowest rounds in the championships last year, a 285 in the first round and a 287 in the final round.
Lineup Features Winning Records
Several of the Spartans in the lineup for the A-Sun Championships have turned in solid performances this season. Three boast winning percentages better than .500 for the year. Adam Goins leads the way, claiming a 562-140 record and an .801 winning percentage. Brian Horton is second with a .630 winning percentage, while Brad Sill is right behind in third place with a .561 percentage. For the season, the team owns a .585 winning percentage with a 72-51 head-to-head record.
Spartans in the Rankings
After playing in nine tournaments in the regular season, including a win at the Rutgers Invitational to start the year and claiming second in The Match Play at Reunion this spring, Upstate is ranked in the top half of the Division I golf teams in the country. Upstate is ranked 152nd by Golfstat and 148th by Golfweek in their latest rankings.
Strong Effort at The Match Play
Seeded fifth to start the tournament, Upstate improved three positions over its seeding to finish 2nd in a strong field at The Match Play at Reunion to start the spring season. After defeating Illinois State in the first round, the Spartans claimed back-to-back wins over top 60 South Florida before dropping a 4-2 contest to top 50 Notre Dame in the championship match.
Horton Earns First Career A-Sun Weekly Honor
After going 4-0, including three wins over players from nationally-ranked Notre Dame and South Florida in The Match Play at Reunion, junior Brian Horton was named the A-Sun Golfer of the Week on Feb. 15. It marked his first weekly honor from the league. He opened the tournament with a 4 & 3 victory over Illinois State's Jordan Fahel. He then took back-to-back wins over USF's Tommy Riehle, winning the first match 4 & 2 and the second 3 & 1. In the championship match against Notre Dame, he scored a 4 & 2 win over Tyler Wingo.