Coming off his second consecutive A-Sun all-conference selection and after turning in a strong individual season, USC Upstate’s Ryan Cornfield has been selected to participate in the Chapel Hill Regional of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship.
Monday was a history-making day at Upstate with Cornfield’s selection. He is the first Upstate golfer, male or female, to advance to the NCAA Regionals since the program was moved to Division I in 2007-08. It is the first NCAA postseason appearance for Spartan men’s golf (team or individual) since the team finished second at the 2007 NCAA Division II Nationals in the athletic department’s final year playing on the Division II level.
“It is nice to be recognized for the amount of work that has been put in over the last year,” said Cornfield. “It has been a lot of hard work and it has paid off. It is not just me though. This is a team effort. It’s Coach (Todd) Lawton, Coach (Josh) Gallman and my teammates. We have all put in the work on the course and in workouts. I am just out there hitting the ball.
“I know how big this is for the school and this program. But, I am quite comfortable in the situation with having expectations and pressure placed on me. The expectations I place on myself are much greater than anything anyone else could place on me and I am ready and excited for the challenge.”
Cornfield will play in the Regional hosted by North Carolina at the University of North Carolina Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill May 14-16. He is one of 13 individuals who will participate in the Regional along with 13 teams. The participants will play 54 holes with the low five teams and the low individual not on those teams advancing to the finals. The finals will be played May 29-June 3 at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Cornfield turned in another standout season on the links for Upstate in 2014-15. He began the season with four Top 10 efforts, three in the Top 5, in five tournaments in the fall. He capped the fall by winning the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic in November for his first career tournament victory. He shot 6-under-par for the tournament.
Playing the toughest stretch of tournaments ever in one semester, Upstate played against more than 40 of the nation’s Top 100 teams in the country in the first four tournaments of the spring. Cornfield held his ground, claimed four Top 25 finishes, including a tie for 11th and a tie for 19th, and played himself into a berth into the Regionals. He finished the season by claiming a tie for ninth at the A-Sun Championships, which was his top individual finish in three appearances in the event. His tie for ninth helped the Spartans finish fourth for the program’s best-ever finish in seven appearances in the tournament. He played himself into an individual berth in the NCAA Regionals after narrowly missing out on an invitation last year.
Cornfield has led Upstate throughout the season with a 72.4 stroke average and a .880 winning percentage. He is 698-95 against all golfers during tournament play. He has a team-best six Top 10 individual finishes on the year and three Top 5 efforts. He broke the program’s lowest round record with a 65 in the Camden Collegiate Invitational in the fall and tied the program’s single round record for most strokes under par when he shot a 6-under 66 in the final round of the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic to help lift him to medalist honors.
“Ryan earning a spot in the NCAA Regional at UNC Finley is an honor that is well-deserved,” said Lawton, who is in his 10th season at the helm of the men’s and women’s golf teams at Upstate. “He has weathered a nine-month battle for this spot and I know he respects the opportunity, but will have fun competing. He is already a great Spartan and this next level will surely show his skills.”