Carson Young chipped his way to a second SCGA Amateur championship. The rising senior at Clemson shot a solid 2-under par 70 to hold off 2014 champion Andrew Novak.
“It feels great to win,” said Young. “The last win I had was three years ago in this tournament so it was great remembering that feeling today,” said the 2013 champion.
Young and Novak battled evenly though much of the final round. Young bogeyed the first hole to allow Novak to get within one shot, but he never bogeyed another hole.
On number 7 Young chipped in to bump his lead up to two again. After Novak birdied
Young chipped in on number 7 for a birdie to get the lead back to two shots, but Novak birdied the ninth hole and had a makeable birdie putt on number 10
“I was one down on number 10 and had a putt that could have let me get even with Carson, but it didn’t go in,” said the Wofford College golfer. “I never was in a position to get even or force him to beat me with a better shot after that,” said Novak.
Young never opened the door for Novak and on number 14 he chipped in for a second time on the day to slam the door shut. The birdie on the par 3 hole boosted his lead to two shots. It would stay that way until the final hole when Novak had to gamble. He bogeyed the last hole giving Young a three shot victory.
“It might have been the golf gods getting even with me. When I won at the Reserve Club (2014 SCGA Amateur) I chipped in three times in five holes,” Novak remembered.
Young had some trouble keeping the ball in the fairway on the first nine holes, but on the back nine at the DeBordieu Club his drives split the fairways.
“I only hit four greens on the front, but my wedge game was strong and I was able to get up and down,” said Young.
The exception to Young’s fine play off the tee was on the par 3 16th hole. He hit his drive in the sand. His bunker shot rolled within six feet of the pin and he made the par putt to stay up by two.
“Novak hit a really good shot in to about 20 feet. If he makes that and I bogey I’ve got a one shot lead and anything can happen,” noted Young.
The Tiger golfer from Pendleton didn’t take any chances on the final two holes. He had birdie chances on both holes, but settled for a pair of pars.
“I wasn’t making anything, but I wasn’t blowing them by or leaving them short, so I had a bunch of tap ins and that was nice,” said Young.
Young shot rounds of 70-69-68-70 for an 11 under par 277.
“I’m hoping it won’t be so long before my next win. This gives me a lot of momentum and confidence for my senior year at Clemson,” said the 2016 amateur champion.
With Young and Novak well ahead of the field they were not the only stories from the 85th renewal of the state championship.
Todd White from Spartanburg is usually the oldest player in the field. The 48 year old former Walker Cup golfer finished in a tie for third place. It was his best finish for the the 1991 champion since he was the runner-up in 1992.
“I played well for an old man,” White joked. “Like everyone I left a few shots out there that I would have liked to have to do over, but it was a good tournament for me,” he said.
White will next compete in the US Amateur and the US Mid-Amateur.
Clemson rising sophomore Bryson Nimmer tied White for third place. The two golfers finshed at 287, 1-under par. Nimmer came back from a difficult 75 in the second round to go 3-under par for the last 36 holes including a 2-under par 70 final round.
“I’ll take it,” said Nimmer. “I didn’t play my best, but a third place finish in the state will give me a real boost when I go back to school,” he said.
Holly Tree Country Club golfer Robert Lutomski was the third member of the final group. Playing with tournament leaders Young and Novak Lutomski got to experience the feeling of being in the hunt.
“There were a lot of people watching, maybe not as many as at the Holly Tree club championship,” he chuckled. “I really enjoyed playing with the two. I wasn’t intimidated. I played about as well as I could. I had to work last week and I didn’t get a lot of time to practice before this,” he said.
Defending champion Keenan Huskey closed out the defense of his title with the best score in the final round. Huskey carded a 3-under par 69 to move from a tie for 22nd place to a tie for 8th place.
An uncharcteristic 81 in the second round pushed the Gamecock golfer well off the pace and made it a battle just to get near the top of the field.
“I was playing alright. I had it to 5-under before I gave a couple back,” said the USC junior.
Trent Phillips of Boiling Springs was again the youngest player in the field. Last year he was the youngest player ever to lead a round at the Amateur. This year Phillips shot the lowest round of the tournament when he posted a 6-under par 66 in the third round.
The future Georgia Bulldog golfer finished in a tie with Huskey for eighth.
USC Upstate rising sophomore Matt Carter continued his fine play during the summer with another top-10 finish in a major Carolina tournament.
The Spartan golfer from Easley, finished in a tie for fifth place at the SCGA Amateur after finishing in the same position at the CGA’s Carolina Amateur played at the Country Club of Charleston.
The top-20 golfers will be exempt from qualifying for next year’s state championship. Golfers who shot 294 or better will be exempt into the 86th SCGA Amateur which will be played at the Florence Country Club next August.
Interview with Carson Young