The Junior golf season for 2017 began at the Cobb’s Glen Invitational in Anderson. The tournament has been the unofficial start of the spring season for juniors from around the state for the last 16 years. The 36 hole championship has attracted many top golfers who have gone on to play college golf and a few make it into the professional ranks.
Jensen Castle of White Knoll High School became the first player to repeat as the winner of the ceremonial green jacket in the girls tournament while Ian Faulconer of Greenville picked up his first big tournament victory.
Castle won the championship last year and started the defense of her title with a solid 1-under par 71 in the first round.
“My putting was really good and I hit a lot of fairways,” said the 2016 AAAAA South Carolina High School individual champion. “Keeping it in the fairway really set me up to make those putts,” she said.
Castle carried a four-stroke lead into the second round. Anna Morgan of Spartanburg was second with Kerrington Lamb of Easley in third place.
In the second round Castles score went up a little, but she was able to maintain her four stroke lead and win the title for the second straight year.
“I may have won a couple of smaller tournaments back to back, but I think this is the first time I’ve been able to defend my title in a tournament like this one,” she said. “I didn’t hit the ball as well as I did in the first round, but my chipping was really good,” she said.
Another Castle was the winner in the younger girls division. Jensen’s younger sister Jalen shot a two-day total of 159 to claim the title in the 11-14 year old girls division. Castle won the overall title by eight shots.
The battle for the runner-up spot was much closer as Sarah Boteler of Greenville finished one shot ahead of Chloe Holder of Williamston.
Faulconor started the final round trailing first round leader John Paul Velasquez by six shots. The Mount Pleasant golfer shot an opening even par round of 72 to lead Cody Transou of Gaffney and Caleb Henson of Lancaster by fic shots.
The final round scores for the leaders went up enough so Faulconor’s second round 1-over par 73 allowed him to take the lead. His two-day total of 151 gave him a two shot victory over Colt Martin of Pendleton. Garrett Cooper matched Faulconor’s final round 73 to jump ahead of the first round leaders to finish third.
“I knew I would have to shoot around even if I was going to have a chance to win. I could see the leaders were having some trouble and I was playing well,” said Faulconer.
The three golfers in front of the winner all struggled in the final round. Valasquez finished with a 156 total to tie for fourth place with Walker Redmon from Greer.
Gaffney’s Cody Transou and Andrew Rose of Greer finished in a tie for sixth place.
The boys overall champion credited his ability to get up and down in the final round as the key to his victory. “I made a lot of putts and I didn’t miss any short ones” he said.
The Cobb’s Glen Invitational champion hopes his good play can continue as the high school golf season starts this month.
“This is the biggest win I have had,” said the J.L. Mann sophomore. “I had not been playing well, but things turned around for me here and I think I am getting my game back on track,” he said.
The boys 11-14 year old championship was won by Tanner Pilgrim of Easley. Pilgrim shot rounds of 79 and 77 for a 156 total and a four shot victory.
Jack Wofford of Greenville finished second while Connor Rekito of Williamston was fourth.
The Cobb’s Glen Mens Golf Association helped operate the event.
(Photos from The Golf Club Newspaper)