Charlotte golf begins the ten-tournament regular season in the Far East, with a trip to Japan and the Topy Cup. The event begins with single rounds of golf Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from the Tanagura Country Club, about three hours north of Tokyo.
The 49ers will be joined by TCU, UAB and Washington as the four schools from the U.S. that will take on eight schools from Japan in the international competition. Two Japanese schools will be paired with each American school for each round to give the competition a true international flavor.
The team left Saturday morning and arrived Sunday afternoon to Japan, which is a 13-hour time difference from the U.S. Eastern Time Zone. The opening round takes place at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, which will be 7 p.m. Monday night in Charlotte
Senior Franco Castro (Alpharetta, Ga. / LSU) was the team’s low scorer last season and leads the team into this international field. A trio of sophomores played their way onto the lineup for this first match of the season, including Thomas Rowland (Consett, England / St. Bedes Catholic School & Sixth Form College), Dan Hendry (Dubai, United Arab Emirated / Dubai College) and Daniel Brantley (Asheboro, N.C.).
Rowland was Charlotte’s top performer in the NCAA Regionals last season, while Brantley and Hendry each finished fourth or better at one event last season.
Rounding out the lineup will be freshman Seth Gandy (Huntersville, N.C. / Hough HS), one of the top junior golfers in the state of North Carolina last season and the lone freshman on the squad. His first collegiate round of golf will officially be in another country.
The U.S. teams have not fared well in the Topy Cup, with a Japanese squad winning 14 of the last 19 tournaments. Baylor was the top U.S. team finisher last year, taking fifth in the Topy Cup.
Charlotte’s first action stateside will be Sept. 22-24 at the Rees Jones Collegiate at Daufuskie Island, S.C.