Interview with The Blade’s winner Jacob Bridgeman
Jacob Bridgeman started the final round of The Blade Junior with a 2-shot lead and finished the 36 hole tournament with a convincing 7-shot victory and a new tournament scoring record.
The future Clemson golfer started with a 6-under par 65 and followed it up with a 5-under par 66 to win the championship. His 11-under par 131 was three shots better than the record set by Crawford Reeves that had stood for ten years.
“I’ve played in this tournament for six years and last year I finished second,” said Bridgeman. “It is pretty special to get this win,” he said.
While the South Carolina AAA High School champion added to his lead in the second round it was a stretch of five holes on the back nine in the first round that set up his win.
“I went birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle and birdie. I knew I would have chances on the back nine. I like that nine better,” he said.
The second round was almost as good for the defending
CGA Carolinas Junior Champion. Instead of coasting to the finish of the round Bridgeman was trying to take it deeper.
“I didn’t go out there to coast. I wanted to take it as far as I could,” he said.
Zack Gordon from Gaffney finished second with a 4-under par two-day total of 138.. Last week Gordon won the CGA SC Junior Match Play championship and was the only golfer to stay in sight of the leader.
Gordon’s high school teammate Seth Taylor looked to be climbing into contention after shooting a 5-under par 30 on the first nine holes. However, Taylor had trouble finishing off the round and a pair of late bogeys dropped him to third place.
Bridgeman has played a very active schedule so far this summer and it only gets busier. He will play in the PGA Junior, the Big I national championship as well as defending his title in the CGA Junior championship.
“At one time early in the summer I played every day for three and a half weeks. I then took a week off to work on my game and it has paid off,” he said.
Interview with Katie Whitfield
Katie Whitfield won a Carolinas Golf Association major last week at the South Carolina Junior Match Play. Now she has added a major SCGA title after winning the girl’s title at The Blade.
The future Bowling Green golfer has been able to handle the pressure of playing with a small lead. Whitfield held a one shot lead for most of the final round before winning by just a shot.
“I’ve been hitting the ball well,” she said. “I made a lot of birdies and that helped me,” said Whitfield.
Future Clemson golfer Gracyn Burgess chased Whitfield for all 18 holes and had a chance to move into the lead when Whitfield bogeyed 16 and 17.
However, Whitfield made a solid par on the final hole and claimed the championship.
It was her third win in the last three weeks. In addition to the CGA’s SC Junior Match Play championship she squeezed in a win on the Hurricane Junior Tour.
fter Whitfield and Burgess one of the youngest players in the field finished in third place. Rachel Rich from Mount Pleasant finished at 3-over par after shooting rounds of 73 and 74.
Greenville’s Carly Lyvers and Mauldin’s Emily Dunlap both finished at 6-over par and tied for fourth place.
The strong field at both the Junior Match Play and The Blade makes Whitfield’s victories even more significant.
“I enjoyed testing my game against the other top juniors in South Carolina,” she said. “This was my last Blade tournament and I am so happy to finish with a win,” she said.