Trent Phillips Interview
When Trent Phillips started the final round of the SCGA Junior two shots off the pace, he had the field in the 59th championship right where he wanted them.
The Inman golfer shot a final round 5-under par 67 to pass 36 hole leader Levi Moody of Travelers Rest and Ryan Marter of Columbia to win the state title by four shots.
The victory continued a string of come from behind victories for the future University of Georgia golfer.
“I seem to almost always play good in the final round,” said Phillips. “Usually my best round is my last round,” said the two-time South Carolina Golf Association junior champion.
Several of Phillips wins have come when he has been able to put pressure on the golfers in front of him on the leader board. More than a few of his competitors have lost ground looking over their shoulder at how Phillips was playing.
“Anytime someone wins a lot you got to watch them. I know I would,” said Phillips.
Moody, a Wofford College commit, led the first two rounds of the championship. The Greenville County High School champion opened the tournament with a 5-under par 67 and kept the lead with a second round 3-under par 69.
In the final round, Moody opened the door for Phillips with a double bogey on the third hole. The Travelers Rest golfer made three birdies on the front, but also carded two more bogeys to drop two shots behind the defending champion.
Columbia golfer Ryan Marter, who will be a freshman at Wofford next fall, finished the front nine tied with Phillips, but a pair of bogeys on numbers 10 and 11 allowed the defending champion to take the lead.
“In the first two rounds I didn’t hit the ball very close, but in the final round I got it a lot closer. I wasn’t able to capitalize on all of them, but I made a few,” he said.
Phillips lead grew to four shots when he eagled the 12th hole. He finished the championship with six straight pars.
“We have played a high school tournament here. My game fits this course well. The greens are good and I was able to roll in a few putts,” he said.
Marter shot an even par final round to finish at 7-under par. Moody carded a 2-over par 74 for third place. Greenville’s Harry Reynolds, from Christ Church, and Gaffney’s Zack Gordon, a future Clemson golfer finished in a tie for fourth place. Jacob Bridgeman of Inman, another future Tiger, finished in sixth place.
“Everybody tells me it is a big tournament so winning two in a row is pretty cool,” said the Boiling Springs High School rising senior.
Phillips became the first repeat champion since Tommy Biershenk, Jr., who also was from Boiling Springs, won the junior championships in 1990 and 1991.
The field of 93 golfers competing in the 15-18 year old division included the top-five golfers in the Heritage Foundation Junior ranking who played like the best golfers in the state. The group earned five of the top six spots in the junior championship.
If you are have the idea that Trent Phillips wins every tournament he plays you would be wrong. He just wins most of them.
Since winning this same tournament last June, the Boiling Springs golfer has played in 27 tournaments that have been included in the SCJGA Heritage Foundation Junior Rankings.
He has won 55% of the tournaments (15 wins) used in the ranking. He was runner-up 4 times and had 5 other top-1o finishes. His worst outing was a tie for 22nd at the Sage Valley Junior Invitational.
Included in the victories are two SCGA Junior championships and the AAAAA SC High School championship which was his third state high school title.
Last summer Phillips became the youngest golfer to win the prestigious Palmetto Amateur. This spring he became the fifth golfer to win the Southern Cross High School tournament and the Palmetto Amateur at the Palmetto Golf Club in Aiken.
Zachary Reuland of Rock Hill won the 13-14 year old age group division title. Reuland shot a 1-over par total for the championship to finish five shots in front of Manning Sloop who is also from Rock Hill.
Mason Tucker of Lancaster finished third while Nathan Franks, the defending 13-14 year old champion from Roebuck, finished in fourth place.
Complete scores are available at http://www.scjga.org