Braselton, Ga. – Spartanburg native and USC Upstate men's golfer Brad Sill opened the 2012 A-Sun Men's Golf Championships with a 1-under-par 71 and is tied for fourth to lead the Spartans in the tournament. Upstate is in fifth position after posting a team score of 299.
Ten A-Sun teams took to the course Monday morning on the Legends Course at the Chateau Elan Golf Club and Resort and Sill led the way for Upstate. Playing the back nine first, he birdied the par-4 11th and par-3 15th to go out in 2-under. He carded eight pars and a bogey on his second nine to post a 71. He is tied for fourth with Mercer's James Neale, Kennesaw State's Matt Nagy and Florida Gulf Coast's Patrick Williams.
"Brad has all the talent to do great every round. He made a decision today to be aggressive off the tee and not try to overpower shots into the greens. When he had the opportunity to hit greens, he hit the middle and that is where most of his birdies came from. He was impressive in making the most of his opportunities," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton.
Upstate opened the tournament with a 299 and is in fifth place by four strokes over Mercer and Jacksonville. Upstate is making its fourth appearance in the A-Sun Championships and its best finish is sixth place in 2010 and 2011.
North Florida, ranked eighth in the latest Golfstat national ranking, opened the tournament with a 287 and owns the lead after 18 holes. The Ospreys are followed by East Tennessee State (288), Kennesaw State (291), Florida Gulf Coast (292) and Upstate (299) in the top five.
Mercer and Jacksonville are tied for sixth at 303 and are followed on the leaderboard by Stetson (307), Belmont (313) and Lipscomb (315).
"There is absolutely no doubt that we left a lot out on the course," said Lawton. "Although we didn't finish the round the way we had hoped, we should be excited to be among the leaders and within striking distance of moving up. We put ourselves in position where we don't have to come from a long way back. We have a chance to come out tomorrow and put together a decent round. This course is very demanding mentally and physically. Avoiding those mistakes that result in bad holes is the way to move up."
Brian Horton (Boiling Springs, S.C.) and Matthew Hopper (Gaffney, S.C.) each shot 75 to open the tournament and helped Upstate to its fifth-place showing on day one. Horton was at even-par through 15 holes, but carded a bogey on the last three holes to shoot 75. Still, it was a strong round. Hopper made three birdies in his round and was 1-under after nine holes, but a nine on the par-5 fifth led him to his 75. Both Horton and Hopper are tied for 19th.
Adam Goins (Gaffney, S.C.), who has led the Spartans throughout the year, opened with a 78. He is tied for 33rd. Tyler Comer (Spartanburg) was 6-over through his first eight holes, but calmed down to play his final 11 holes at 1-over. He finished with an 80 and is tied for 42nd.
North Florida's Sean Dale and ETSU's Rhys Enoch each shot 4-under 68 to share the individual lead after the first day. ETSU's Spencer Lawson is third after shooting 70.