You don’t often hear about offense and defense in a golf tournament, but that was the game plan for Raymond Wooten and Mickey Plyler in the final round of the South Carolina Golf Association Four-Ball championship at Musgrove Mill.
The two Upstate golfers won the title in the 54th annual event with a 3&2 victory over the team of Furman University golfer, Connor Bruns and recent Furman grad Bryce Howell.
“The key for us was that Raymond never flinched,” said Plyler. “He said give me some offense cause I’ve got the defense covered. He hit it in the fairway and when he needed to make putts he did,” Plyler said.
Plyler did make a pair of chip in birdies to help the team and take a 3 up lead at the turn.
Bruns and Howell had a chance to keep the lead from growing on the front nine, but a missed putt on the seventh hole allowed the lead to grow to three holes.
“I think if we could have made that putt it would have slowed them down,” said Bruns. “We are not disappointed with the way we played, they just played better,” said the Furman junior.
On the 14th hole it appeared for a time that Wooten and Plyler had opened the door for Bruns and Howell. Plyler hit a poor tee shot into the water and Wooten’s drive ended up next to a cart path in the rough.
Wooten hit his second shot to the edge of the green and was able to two putt for a par. Bruns had the best chance at placing the hole in the win column for his team, but his birdie putt just missed.
The match was dormie going to the 15th hole. Bruns made a 25 foot birdie to extend the finals and give his team a chance for a comeback.
“We were in good position on Saturday too, but Jeremy Revis and Duane Barnes birdied the last three holes and we had to play three extra holes to win,” said Plyler.
Wooten and Plyler did not need any extra holes in the final. On the next hole, the par-5 16th hole, Wooten hit his third shot to about four-feet.
Howell and Bruns scared the pin with their long birdie attempts, but neither was able to put any additional pressure on Wooten.
“I just knew you had to birdie 16. You couldn’t make an eagle because it is such a hard second shot. I was thinking if we made birdie we win,” said Wooten.
The Greenville lawyer rolled in the four-footer to close the case and win the first major state championship for himself and Plyler.
“I’ve always wanted to win a state title. This is obviously one of the big ones, so I am extremely happy,” said Wooten.
“This was a great field and a great tournament on a great golf course. I think winning it at Musgrove also means a lot,” concluded Plyler.
The SCGA tournament had been scheduled for two rounds of stroke play, but the first round was rained out and the rest of the tournament was in jeopardy.
“The Musgrove Mill crew did an unbelievable job to get the tournament ready and to keep us from losing another round,” said Biff Lathrop the SCGA Senior Director. Superintendent Will Holroyd had the course in great shape. We could have played even more of the tournament with the ball down because Will and his crew did such a great job,” he said.
Interview and highlights with Raymond Wooten and Mickey Plyler