Horton, Upstate Lead Caribbean Intercollegiate
Ponce, Puerto Rico – USC Upstate men's golfer and Boiling Springs native Brian Horton certainly loves the island life. A year ago, he claimed his first collegiate individual championship at the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic in Puerto Rico. On Monday, he shot a 5-under-par 67 to vault into the individual lead and push the Spartans to the team lead after the first round of the Caribbean Intercollegiate at the Costa Caribe Golf Resort.
Upstate opened the three-day, 54-hole tournament with a 5-under-par 283 to take the team lead. The 283 is the lowest round of the year for Upstate, topping the 284 shot in the opening round of the Sea Trail Intercollegiate in September. The Spartans lead the tournament by two strokes over Nova Southeastern.
"The guys have done a fantastic job of working hard and practicing between rounds and putting until late in the evenings," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton. "I think it has given us lots of confidence. We play early tomorrow morning, which is a good thing for the conditions on the course."
Horton was simply on fire throughout the round, especially early when he played his first nine holes at 5-under 31. He finished his round when the winds started picking up, making scoring more difficult. Still, he turned in a strong round and one worthy of taking the individual lead.
"Brian played a very strong round," said Lawton. "He played very well early, going out in 31, and had to deal with the wind coming in. His focus was nearly perfect today."
In addition to the play of Horton, freshman Adam Goins (Gaffney, S.C.) was also strong. He turned in a 3-under 69 and is tied for second in the tournament, two strokes behind Horton.
"Adam steadily paced himself by making lots of pars and a few birdies," said Lawton. "His only bogey came on his 17th hole, a 467-yard par-4 that played into the wind."
Matthew Hopper (Gaffney, S.C.) opened with a 1-over 73 and is tied for 20th in the tournament. Brad Sill (Saprtanburg, S.C.) and Nelson Dickson (Boiling Springs, S.C.) both turned in 74 on the day and are tied for 28th entering the second round on Tuesday.
The feel good score of the day, though, came off the scorecard of Kevin Hentz (Bel Air, Md.). A fifth-year senior, he is playing in his second tournament for Upstate a week after getting his first career start. Although playing as an individual, he went out strong and turned in an even-par 72 and is tied for 14th heading into the second round on Tuesday.
While Upstate leads the tournament at 283, there are four other teams within 10 strokes of the lead. Following Nova Southeastern (285) in second, Johnson & Wales also posted a round under par at 287. St. John's and Savnnah State are tied for fourth at 290 and are followed by Wilmington (295), Old Dominion (297), Tampa (298), California (Pa.) (300), Connecticut (304) and Lincoln (324).