Spartans, Goins Win Tournament Championship at Rutgers Invitational
Piscataway, N.J. – The USC Upstate men's golf team turned in a strong final round on Saturday and opened the 2011-12 season by winning the Rutgers Invitational in dominant fashion. It marks the second team title in four appearances in the tournament and the fourth effort finishing either first or second. Gaffney's Adam Goins won medalist honors over teammate and Spartanburg native Tyler Comer in the first playoff hole to give the Spartans a sweep of the championships.
"I'm very proud of these guys and how they finished today," said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton. "Sleeping on a lead in golf is tough to do. You are excited to be in position, but you also have to perform at the same level on another day. Not only did we play well, but we improved significantly each round. It's a great way to start the season."
Upstate has had a tremendous record at the Rutgers Invitational. It was the site of Upstate's first tournament playing on the Division I level in 2007 and the Spartans came away with the team championship, while former standout Michael Lawrence took home the individual title. The Spartans finished second in both 2008 and 2009 with former great Josh Gallman winning the individual championship in 2009.
Upstate added to the lore of its success in the tournament Saturday by winning the team and individual championships in its return to the event after not participating in last year's event.
While Goins had turned in a strong tournament throughout, Comer broke through with a record-tying round Saturday afternoon. He played bogey-free golf and turned in a 66 to tie the single-round school record. He now shares the school record with former all-time great Josh Gallman and current teammate McKenzie Oref (Easley, S.C.).
"Tyler and Adam had a great battle today," said Lawton. "They made lots of birdies and few mistakes. Tyler played bogey free while tying the school record 66."
In the end, Goins and Comer finished regulation tied for the tournament championship at 1-under-par (212). Goins won the individual title on the first hole for his second career championship. He won the Caribbean Classic last year, becoming the first freshman in the history of the program to claim a tournament title.
Upstate owned a share of the tournament lead after the first round and took sole possession of first place after posting an even-par 284 in the second round. The Spartans did even better in the final round, shooting 7-under as a team to post a 277. They finished the tournament with an 854 total to win by a dominant 21 strokes over second place St. Peter's (875).
Seton Hall was third at 876 and was followed by Fairleigh Dickinson (887), Wilmington (894), Rutgers (901), Post (903), Monmouth (908), Hofstra (916), Adelphi (927), Davenport (931), Fairfield (932), UMass-Lowell (936), Rider (942), Wagner (954) and Wilmington B (958).
Matthew Hopper (Gaffney, S.C.) claimed a top five finish when he tied for fifth after posting rounds of 71, 75 and 71 for a 217 total. Upstate made it four players in the top 10 when Brad Sill (Spartanburg, S.C.) fired a 71 in the final round to go with rounds of 74 and 73. His 218 total allowed him to tie for eighth. Brian Horton (Boiling Springs, S.C.) finished tied for 17th after finishing with a 72 on Saturday. That followed rounds of 81 and 70 on Friday.
"All in all, we had nine of our 15 rounds at 72 or better," said Lawton. "I don't believe we've ever been that consistent in a single tournament. Rutgers is a great school and exciting place to play tournament golf. It truly made for a great trip."