Trent Phillips was the 2015 Jay Haas Award winner as the top junior in South Carolina. The Boiling Springs High School golfer took a step towards winning that award again by claiming the title in the South Carolina Golf Association Junior championship at the Links at Stono Ferry near Charleston.
Phillips started the final round of the 54 event trailing second round leader James May of Ninety Six by six shots. May had held a 4-shot lead over the field after shooting the best round of the tournament, a 6-under 66.
However in the last round Phillip’s experience seemed to affect the other leaders. His reputation as a closer might have been as important to his win as his actual play.
“I knew that would help,” said Phillips. “I wanted to run in some birdies and hope they saw them,” he said.
Phillips playing in the group just in front of the tournament leaders made the turn at 2-under par to start to apply the pressure. He added a three birdies on the back nine and missed an eagle by inches. His birdie on the 17th hole gave him a three shot lead.
Playing in the final group May, Colby Patton from Fountain Inn and Tyler Gray of Lugoff kept pace until the turn. Each one ran into trouble on the final nine holes.
Gray had gotten to the lead at 5-under par, but bogeys on 14,15 and 16 dropped him back to a 2-under par finish.
Patton got to 4-under par going to the final nine holes. The Hillcrest High School golfer made three birdies on the final nine holes, but three bogeys and a double bogey left him tied with Gray for second place.
May struggled to a final round 6-over par 78 while Chesnee golfer Jacob Bridgeman moved up to fifth place with a final round 2-under par 70 and a 217 total.
Phillips now adds a major SCGA title to his resume that includes a pair of South Carolina High School AAAA individual championships.
“Winning, you really got to love winning. You got to want to win. I really focused up when I was six back. I knew I needed some shots and I needed some help from them coming back to me” he said.
Phillips finished the tournament at 4 under par after shooting rounds of 73, 71 and 68 for a 214 total and the two shot victory.
“This was my first time playing in this age group at the tournament and it really means a lot to me to win this in my first year,” said the champion.
The younger division champion was also from the Upstate. Dorman golfer Nathan Franks shot a final round 70 which included an eagle two on his ninth hole (18th hole on the course).
Franks finished the tournament at 2-under par for a 217 total and a seven shot win over Austin Mosher of Mount Pleasant and Sloop Manning of Rock Hill. Fellow Dorman golfer Nick Srinivasan finished fourth.
“I thought I had a chance, but I knew I had to play good,” said Franks. “I made a lot of putts within ten feet and I’m not usually that good a putter,” he said. In the overall standings Franks posted the fifth best score in the tournament.
Complete scoring available http://www.ghintpp.com/scgolf/TPPOnlineScoring/ResultsStroke.aspx?ID=179
Interview with Trent Phillips