The Charlotte golf team posted a four-under 276 to sit in fourth place at the 2013 Topy Cup, taking place in Tanagura, Japan late Monday night. The 49ers are third among U.S. teams, two strokes behind UAB and four back of Washington heading into the second round. Defensing Topy Cup champion Tohoku Fukuski University is the top team on the leaderboard, with an opening round 269 (-11).

Charlotte senior Franco Castro (Alpharetta, Ga. / LSU) is tied for second individually with an opening round 66 (-4) on the 6,964-yard, par-70 Tanagura Country Club. He is tied with two other golfers sitting one stroke behind UAB’s Sam Love for the individual lead ahead of Tuesday night’s second round.

“I felt like today was a good, solid start for our team,” said head coach Ryan Cabbage. “Franco had a fantastic round with seven birdies. Overall, I think all five of our guys did some really nice things out there today. This golf course forces you to keep the ball in play off of the tee, and for the most part we were able to do that today.”

Sophomore Thomas Rowland (Consett, England / St. Bedes Catholic School and Sixth Form College) shot an opening-round 69 to sit in a tie for 12th overall. He was one of just 14 players in the 54-player field to be under par. He was steady, with one birdie on the front and one on the back to go with a bogey and 15 pars for the one-under result.

Sophomore Daniel Brantley (Asheboro, N.C.) finished at level par 70. He posted a pair of birdies on the front nine and went three-straight holes with a birdie on the back nine. Fellow sophomore Dan Hendry (Dubai, United Arab Emirates / Dubai College) posted a one-over 71 for a tie for 20th. He had three birdies on the front nine.

Freshman Seth Gandy (Huntersville, N.C. / Hough HS) was two-over with a 72 in his first collegiate round of golf to round out the 49ers scoring.  After a double-bogey on his opening-hole, he rallied to post a pair of birdies through the rest of his round. He is tied for 30th.

Charlotte was paired Tohoku Fukushi in the opening round, as the U.S. teams (of which there are three) are paired with two squad of Japanese teams each round. TCU was scheduled to play in the field but dropped out at the last minute, creating a one-team gap in the field.

“We will make any necessary adjustments that we need after this first round and be ready to go out and play well the next two days,” added Cabbage. “We had a great opportunity for our team today to play with Tohoku Fukushi University, regarded by most people here as the number-one University golf program in Japan and defending Topy Cup champion.  They have a really good team, great kids and it was a lot of fun for our guys to play with them.”

Japan is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time, so the 49ers are to tee off at 8 a.m. on Tuesday local time, 7 p.m. Charlotte-time. The 49ers are paired with Senshu University, Nagasaki International and five Japanese individuals for round two.