Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's golf team opens the spring season playing in a unique format in the Match Play at Reunion Monday and Tuesday at the Reunion Golf Resort in Orlando, Fla.
The Match Play is being played on the Watson Course at the prestigious Reunion Golf Resort with courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson. The Watson Course is a par-72 layout that plays at 5,257 yards. The tournament has 12 teams seeded by the Golfstat rankings. Each team will have six players in the tournament competing in typical match play format. Each team is guaranteed to play three matches in the event.
Upstate is the fifth seed in the tournament and will open play against Illinois State and will play either South Florida or Marquette in the second round. The teams in order of seeding are: Notre Dame, South Florida, Central Arkansas, Virginia Commonwealth, Upstate, DePaul, Villanova, Illinois State, Seton Hall, Connecticut, Marquette and Loyola-Chicago.
Upstate head coach Todd Lawton will send the lineup of Adam Goins, Matthew Hopper, Tyler Comer, Brad Sill, Brian Horton and Danny Brock into action for the Match Play. Goins, Comer, Sill and Horton have played in all four tournaments this year. Hopper has played in three tournaments, while Brock will see his first action of the season.
Goins tops the Spartans with a 73.9 stroke average and owns a tournament title with his win at the Rutgers Invitational. Hopper, Comer and Sill each have top 10 finishes on the year. Sill ranks second on the team with a 75.2 stroke average and is followed by Horton (75.3), Comer (76.4) and Hopper (77.1).
Winning Records Head-to-Head
Through the first four tournaments of the season, three Spartans have emerged to lead the team on the season. Not surprisingly, all three have winning head-to-head records against the competition. Adam Goins not only tops the team with a 73.9 stroke average, but he tops the Spartans with a .765 winning percentage. Brian Horton is third on the team with a 75.3 stroke average, but second with a .669 winning percentage. Brad Sill is second on the team with a 75.2 stroke average and third with a .663 winning percentage.
Goins, Horton Leading the Way
While playing tougher venues and against tougher competition, two Spartans have stepped up and have recorded lower stroke averages than their career averages so far this season. Adam Goins owns a career stroke average of 74.5, but has a 73.9 average this year. Brian Horton owns a career stroke average of 75.8, but is averaging 75.3 per round this season.
Improving the First Round
While Upstate has had the good fortune to rebound from higher than expected first round scores and improve throughout the rest of each tournament, Upstate will look back at the fall and wonder what could have been if it had posted better first round scores. The Spartans averaged a 306.75 in the first round of tournaments. They went on to average 292.5 in the second round and 294.25 in the third. It marked a difference of 14 strokes in the second round and nearly 12 in the third.
Sill Turns in Solid Fall
Brad Sill is a quiet, unassuming young man who possesses tremendous talent on the course. While players like Adam Goins, Brian Horton, Matthew Hopper and Tyler Comer can come out of nowhere and post scores in the 60s and often garner all of the attention, Sill just goes about his business and posts consistent scores. For that reason, he ranks second on the team with a 75.2 stroke average. He has carded seven rounds of 74 or better through 12 rounds this year and turned in just two rounds in the 80s.
Spartans in the Rankings
After winning the Rutgers invitational and finishing middle of the pack in their other three events, the Spartans are ranked in the top half of the Division I golf teams in the country. Upstate is ranked 145th by Golfstat and 145th by Golfweek in their latest rankings.