Trent Phillips is setting records that are going to be hard to beat. The young golfer from Boiling Springs is believed to be the youngest player to ever win the Palmetto Amateur in the 41 year history of the event.
Last year Phillips was the youngest player to lead the South Carolina Golf Association Amateur championship. He also was the youngest golfer to win the South Carolina High School AAAA championship when he claimed the first of his two state championships in 2014.
Stepping up from junior and high school competition, Phillips won his first amateur championship with his 3 shot victory at the Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken.
“I was playing with college kids and older (players) and I’m young and not a college kid,” said Phillips, who will be a junior at Boiling Springs High School in the fall. “People probably expected me to fall, thinking I didn’t have the patience or the confidence or the mental toughness to hang in there, but I did and I’m really happy about it,” he said.
Phillips shot a 3-under par 67 in the first round, to trail the leaders by two shots. Incoming Clemson freshman Doc Redman and USC golfer Ben Detrich carded 5-under par rounds of 65.
“Just stay calm, stay confident and keep playing my game all week and see how things stack up,” Phillips recalled thinking after the first round.
In the second round NC State golfer Jake McBride shot a 9-under par round of 61 to take the half way lead with a 130 total.
“You got to take your hat off to him. When he shot that score it made me think, if he can do it I can do it too,” said Phillips.
Trailing the leader by five shots the future Georgia golfer fired his second 3-under par 67. McBride could not follow up the 61 with a sub-par round and shot a 5-over 75. Redman kept Phillips in sight carding an even par round of 70.
Phillips started the final round with a two shot lead and never gave it up. Redman was able to close within a shot as did McBride before the 16 year old golfer made birdies on numbers 14, 15 and 16.
On the par three 16th hole he ran in a 30 footer for his birdie and only needed to stay out of trouble on the final two holes to get the victory.
Playing several groups in front of Phillips, Auburn golfer Trace Crowe from Easley shot his second straight round of 4 under par 66 to finish at 6-under par in a tie for second.
“I didn’t have a good start, I was 2-over by the seventh hole,” said Crowe, who made six birdies in his final 11 holes. “I feel good about my game right now and the way I played. I just got too far behind,” he said.
Redman kept pace with Phillips, but could only finish with an even par round of 70. The Raleigh golfer drove the green on the final hole and had an eagle chance to break out of a tie with Crowe, but his putt just missed.
“It was kind of the story of my day,” he said. “I hit the ball well, but I couldn’t make any putts. It was fun being in the lead and playing for something,” said Redman.
Phillips posted all three rounds in the 60s (67-68-67-69, 271) which was one of his goals coming into the tournament.
“Because it is a par 70 you don’t have as many birdies opportunities especially lacking two par fives so you really have to take advantage of the holes you can score on,” he said.
Phillips made the most of his scoring opportunities making 19 birdies to lead the field in that category.
“Four day tournaments are pretty stressful and tiring, but when you win it makes it a lot better,” Phillips said.
The victory adds an important win to his golf resume giving Phillips victories in junior, high school and now high level amateur competitions.
“It lets me know I can win, that I can do it. Hopefully I can carry the confidence with me into my next tournament. “I’m happy about it,” concluded Phillips.
Clemson golfer Carson Young finished in a tie
with two other golfers for fourth place. Spartanburg High School golf coach and former Walker Cup team member Todd White finished in a six way tie for seventh place.
Interview with Trent Phillips