Upstate Amateur Golf

Blanton wins GGO in playoff

R.J. Blanton and Derrick Oyervides battled around the Greer Country Club course for 18 holes and then needed one more to determine the champion in this year’s Greater Greer Open.

Clemson student RJ Blanton won the GGO on the first playoff hole

Clemson student RJ Blanton won the GGO on the first playoff hole

Blanton shot a 4-under par 68 to open the tournament and held the first round lead. Oyervides who was in second place four shots behind the leader going into the second round.

In the second round Blanton’s game was not as sharp as it was on the first day. “I was hitting the ball pretty good, but I had some bad holes,” he said. “The good thing is I was able to bounced back from them very quickly,” said Blanton.

One example was when he double bogeyed the sixth hole, he got one of the shots back on the very next hole with a good birdie on number seven.

“I think that helped me keep things going, being able to get that birdie especially set the tone for the entire round for me,” he said.

Both golfers were tied going to the always tricky par-3 17th hole at Greer. Blanton had to scramble again to make a par while Oyervides struggled.

“I pulled it left and missed a makeable putt for par,” said Oyervides. “I just missed it,” he said.

Derrick Oyervides celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th hole at Greer to send the GGO to a playoff.

Derrick Oyervides celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th hole at Greer to send the GGO to a playoff.

On the final hole the power both golfers brought to the course was evident. They both blasted long drives up the right fairway on the last hole. Blanton hit his approach shot to within about 12 feet setting a possible winning birdie. Oyervides tee shot got within 20 yards of the green and then rolled his pitch to within about 15 feet of the pin.

Oyervides needed a birdie to tie Blanton and force extra holes. His putt was the perfect speed and rolled into the dead center of the cup. Blanton’s putt was a little shorter, but it just missed sending the two into the playoff.

Playing the 18th hole as the first playoff hole both golfers again hit long drives. Each golfers second shot was a mirror of the other and they both had 10 foot birdie putts almost on the same line.

Oyervides putted first and say his effort miss. Blanton, who was getting a second chance to win the tournament on the 18th hole, took advantage of the read from Oyervides putt and rolled in his birdie.

“This was the second time I played here and I really enjoy the course. It was in great shape and it is fun to play,” said the champion.

RJ Blanton rolls in the winning birdie putt on the playoff hole to wrap up the GGO.

RJ Blanton rolls in the winning birdie putt on the playoff hole to wrap up the GGO.

Blanton is a rising junior at Clemson and played high school golf at Gaffney.

“I played well getting up and down and I never let a bad hole get the best of me,” said the new champion.

Oyervides didn’t get the win, but just being on the course again was a victory of sorts for the Greer golfer. “I’ve had three surgeries on my knees and I honestly didn’t know if I would ever be able to play again,” he said.

“Finishing second wasn’t as important as being able to play and compete,” said Oyervides.

Kevin Yancar and Cory Taylor finished in a tie for third place. Garland Ferrell finished in fifth.

Flight winners included, First Flight – Jason Mosley, Second Flight – Bo Ream, Third Flight – A.J. Thomas. Zach Bostic made a hole-in-one in the first round. He aced the 148 yard 4th hole using a 8 iron.

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