Daufuskie Island, S.C. – Ryan Cornfield birdied two of his first three holes to start his day, closed out the round with a pair of birdies and shot even-par 72 to lead the USC Upstate men's golf team in the first round of the Rees Jones Invitational Sunday afternoon at the Haig Point Golf Course on Daufuskie Island.
Upstate began play on hole #10 and Cornfield was strong early. He birdied his first and third holes before going out in 1-over-par. After falling to 2-over midway through his final nine holes, he birdied the par-3 8th and the par-5 9th, his 17th and 18th holes, to finish even for the day and in a tie for fifth.
"Ryan continues to excel in all areas and his hard work continues to pay off," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton after the round. "I'm proud of him."
Upstate opened the tournament with a 307 and stands ninth on the leaderboard through 18 of 54 holes. The tournament will continue with the second round on Monday and finish with the final round on Tuesday. The Spartans counted scores of 72 from Cornfield, 75 from Taylor White, 76 from Sebastian Lopez Bulla and 84 shot by both Sean Hassell and Trey Taylor.
"The golf course and setup were perfect today and the weather was nice for scoring," said Lawton. "Haig Point requires both length and accuracy. Taylor and Sebastian fought hard and played well, but it takes four to post a good score and we didn't have it today. Each of our players works hard in practice and can transition on the course if they give themselves that singular expectation. We have a great opportunity over the next two days to settle in and gain confidence to improve."
Kennesaw State opened the tournament with a 285 and leads the tournament heading into the second round. East Carolina is one stroke back at 286 and is followed by Charleston Southern (293), Winthrop (295), Campbell (296), Elon (299), Presbyterian (305), UNC Wilmington (306), Upstate (307), Bowling Green State (310) and Towson (315). East Carolina's Al Dickens opened with a 64 and owns the individual lead by three strokes.
White matched Cornfield's four birdies in his round as well to post a solid 75. He birdied three of his first nine holes to go out in 1-over before playing his back nine at 2-over. Lopez Bulla posted a pair of birdies in his first nine holes. Hassell had a birdie on each nine, while Taylor posted three birdies in his round to raise the Spartans' total birdie count for the day to 15.