Upstate Opens Play At A-Sun Championship Monday
Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's golf team will begin its quest to win a conference title Monday morning at 8:45 a.m. when it tees off in the first round of the 2010 A-Sun Championship at the Legends Course at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga. For seniors Josh Gallman and Michael Lawrence, both of whom played key roles in the Spartans' runner-up finish in the 2007 NCAA Division II National Championship, this year's conference tournament marks the final opportunity for the duo to win a league title, whether it's a team or individual championship. To do so, Gallman, Lawrence and the rest of the Spartans must battle a deep and talented field with the likes of nationally-ranked North Florida and East Tennessee State and defending champion, Campbell, set to do battle.
Upstate will join Belmont, Campbell, ETSU, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Mercer, UNF and Stetson in the 11-team championship. Campbell won last year's tournament, played at Keith Hills Country Club in Buies Creek, N.C., with a 3-over-par performance, winning the title by seven strokes. Individually, ETSU's Michael Stewart shot 3-under to win the individual championship by a single shot. Gallman and Lawrence each claimed top 10 finishes with Gallman finishing tied for fifth at 1-over and Lawrence tying for eighth at 2-over.
The 11 A-Sun teams will play the Legends Course, designed by architect Denis Griffiths with input from Gene Sarazen, Kathy Whitworth and Sam Snead. It is a 6,975-yard, par-72 course that hosted the Sarazen World Open Championship on the PGA Tour from 1994-98.
Upstate will send the lineup of Gallman, Lawrence, Nate Irvin, Matthew Hopper and Brian Horton into action in the A-Sun Championships. Gallman and Lawrence are the only two Spartans to play in last year's event. The lineup won the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic in March and made a great comeback last week to finish second behind ETSU in the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational. The five own a 1,531-870 head-to-head record for a .638 winning percentage. Gallman has won two individual tournament championships this year, at the Rutgers Invitational in September and sharing the championship at the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic, and Horton has one title, joining Gallman as a co-winner at the Palmas Del Mar.
Looking Back At The Coca-Cola Wofford
USC Upstate entered the final round of the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational played at the Country Club of Spartanburg seven strokes out of second place. After using scores of 70, 71, 72 and 73 for a 2-under-par 286, Upstate hurdled over Wofford and Charleston Southern to finish second behind tournament champion and A-Sun foe East Tennessee State last Tuesday. Josh Gallman led the way for Upstate, finishing tied for fourth at 5-under. Matthew Hopper turned in his best performance of the year, carding a 73 in the final round and finishing tied for 11th at 1-over. Michael Lawrence also had a solid tournament and claimed a top 25 finish.
Looking Back At Last Year's A-Sun
Upstate was one of five teams within 10 strokes of each other, finishing its first-ever appearance in the A-Sun Championship in seventh place after posting rounds of 294, 296 and 303 in the 2009 A-Sun Championship. Josh Gallman and Michael Lawrence led the way for the Spartans. Gallman finished tied for fifth at 1-over-par, four strokes back of tournament winner Michael Stewart, while Lawrence finished tied for eighth at 2-over. Campbell, playing on its home course, claimed the team title.
The Final Countdown
When Josh Gallman and Michael Lawrence tee off at the A-Sun Championship Monday morning, it will be the next to last tournament the pair will play in an Upstate uniform. The two helped build the program into a national contender in NCAA Division II with a runner-up finish at the 2007 NCAA DII National Championship and into a strong mid-major NCAA Division I program. Gallman owns every career record at Upstate, including six individual tournament wins, 19 top five finishes, 30 top 10 efforts and a 72.8 stroke average. Lawrence has won two individual tournament titles, including the program's first-ever individual Division I title in the 2007 Rutgers Invitational in the Spartans' first year playing on the DI level. He ranks third all-time with a 75.2 stroke average.
Throughout the fall, Upstate struggled to find the ability to post a solid score in the final round of tournaments. The addition of Nate Irvin into the lineup this spring and the development of Brian Horton andMatthew Hopper as solid tournament players has infused the Spartans with energy and confidence. The lineup won the team championship at the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic with Gallman and Horton sharing individual medalist honors. The lineup has played in each of the last three tournaments. They have not posted a round of 300 or higher in the last eight rounds and have claimed a first- and second-place finish in the last two outings. The team may be hitting its stride at just the right time.
Gallman's National Ranking,br> Senior Josh Gallman ranks 109th in the world and 54th in the United States in the latest amateur golf ranking by the R&A. Scratchplayers.com ranks him 184th in the world and 76th in the United States. He ranks 196th in the world and 71st in the U.S. in the latest Golfweek/amateurgolf.com ranking. Finally, he ranks 60th in the latest Golfstat Cup ranking, just four spots shy of his best-ever ranking of No. 56 during his sophomore season. The Golfstat Cup ranks all collegiate golfers in NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO.