Chapel Hill, N.C. – Standout USC Upstate men’s golfer Ryan Cornfield closed out his first NCAA Regional appearance by shooting a 74 in the final round of the Chapel Hill Regional and finished tied for 23rd on the individual leaderboard.
Although he did not advance to the NCAA Nationals, Cornfield turned in a tremendous performance in representing Upstate in the school’s first-ever NCAA Division I Regional appearance. He finished tied as the ninth-best player not on one of the top-five teams that will move on to the NCAA Nationals. Cornfield’s appearance this season marks the first appearance in NCAA play for the men’s golf program since the 2006-07 squad finished second at the NCAA Division II Nationals. He finished the regional tied for second with 40 pars in 54 holes.
Cornfield started his round much like he has played throughout the year and his career, with remarkable consistency. He made par on his first seven holes before making a bogey on the par-5 17th hole, his eighth hole after beginning his round on No. 10. However, he responded by making an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th to go out at even par.
With a 36 on his first nine holes, Cornfield took the turn at 1-under for the tournament and in a tie for 19th on the individual leaderboard.
Cornfield started his final nine holes, holes 1-9, with two pars. That changed on the par-5 third hole when he made an eight-foot birdie putt to move to 2-under for the tournament and 1-under for his round. The birdie also moved him into a tie for 11th at the time. After a par, Cornfield made bogey on the par-4 fifth, his 14th hole of the day, to go back to 1-under for the tournament.
Cornfield regrouped after the bogey and made three consecutive pars. However, a double bogey on his final hole moved him to 1-over for the tournament and into a tie for 23rd.
“Ryan battled today and did well to put himself in position to score well,” said Upstate head coach Todd Lawton. “He had several good looks at birdie and hit phenomenal shots on so many difficult holes throughout the day. I know he wants to win and you could tell that when he finished his round. He was disappointed in himself a little, but that is a sign of an incredible competitor.”
Charlotte, ranked 50th in the country, won the regional and was one of the five teams to advance to the NCAA Nationals. No. 11 Stanford was second and was followed in the top five by No. 1 Florida State, No. 37 Florida and No. 36 Clemson. Western Carolina’s JT Poston won a playoff with Lipscomb’s Dawson Armstrong for the individual qualifying spot in the NCAA Nationals. Both finished regulation play at 7-under for the tournament.
Cornfield wrapped up a season in which he made program history and put his stamp on the Upstate golf program even more than he had in his previous two years. He became the first Spartan golfer to play in an NCAA Division I Regional after earning an individual invitation. He did so after winning his first collegiate tournament at the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic and entering the Chapel Hill Regional with six Top 10 individual finishes in 11 tournaments. He posted one second place, one third place and three ninth place finishes during the season, including a tie for ninth at the A-Sun Championships for his best finish in three appearances in the event. He also helped the Spartans claim fourth place as a team for its best finish in seven A-Sun Tournaments.
Cornfield, who just wrapped up his junior season, currently ranks second in program history in stroke average and winning percentage. His stroke average this season, which is a shade over 72, stands as the third-best in school history. He trails all-time great and current assistant coach Josh Gallman in all three of the aforementioned categories.
“What a year he had and most don’t even realize he is equally as solid in the classroom,” said Lawton. “I’m proud to coach him and to also have the opportunity to participate in the NCAA Regionals.”