If you follow along with Junior Golf in South Carolina you know that the Palmetto State is in the process of changing the guard at the top of the rankings.
Trent Phillips, Zack Gordon, Jacob Bridgeman and Harrison Corbin have moved along and are playing college golf as freshmen. The four golfers have dominated state rankings and collected more than their fair share of championships.
Jonathan Griz from Hilton Head Island has established himself as one of the top young, very young juniors who could fill one of those spots in the Palmetto State.
Griz accomplished something that a list of outstanding players have done before him, he won the overall title at the Harvey Brock Orange Jacket championship played at the Pickens Country Club.
Griz joins a list of young winners which included a future SEC champion in Matt NeSmith who until Griz earned this year’s Orange Jacket had been the youngest winner of the event.
Current Tour player Andrew Novak from Wofford and former Clemson golfers Carson Young, Corbin Mills and Cody Proveaux all won this tournament before going on to success in college.
The Hilton Head Prep golfer shot rounds of 66 and 65 to finish 13-under par. His 36 hole total of 131 broke the existing tournament scoring record of Sawyer Mills (133 in 2014) and at only 14 years old, he bettered a 15 year old NeSmith to become the youngest overall champion.
“Being the youngest to win is nice,” he said. “I had a good couple of days and played well. I drove the ball great and had a lot of wedges that got me close enough to make a lot of putts,” said Griz.
His first round 6-under par 66 was good enough for a three shot lead over Daniel Brassington of Woodruff in his age group, but Griz was aiming for the overall championship.
“When I started the day I wanted to be the overall champion. A win in a tournament like this is going to help my overall ranking in the country,” said the young golfer.
Griz has already compiled an impressive resume. He has won the qualifying tournament for The Big I and won the Carolinas PGA Junior championship. He won the state qualifying tournament for the US Junior and made match play at the event.
While still growing, Griz already has an advantage over players of his age and older. He hits the ball a ton and at Pickens, a 6400 yard course his drives dominated play.
“I had a lot of wedges into greens. I was able to get it close and make a lot of putts both days. I thought I didn’t get everything out of my round because I missed make-able birdie putts on four holes on the front nine,” he said.
Griz has not played in many SCJGA events, but he still is ranked in the top 5 this year. After the win at Pickens he will move up.
The winner of the Hilton Head Island Amateur has made a very early commitment to play college golf at Clemson. He follows a number of other Hilton Head area golfers, like his friend Bryson Nimmer to the Tiger program.
“I have friends up there and it is a great place. I love the coaches both Mr. Penley and Mr. Byrd and the facilities are the best,” he said.
Griz is still almost four years away from making his commitment to Clemson official, but he has no reservations or concerns about changing his mind.
“I wanted to stay close to home and Clemson has everything that I wanted and being just four hours from home keeps me close to my family,” said the future Tiger.
Finishing in second place in the boys 13-15 age group was Brasington. The Wolverine golfer’s score of 138 would have been good enough to win the Orange Jacket several times in the 11 year history of the tournament.
Zach Adams of Charleston finished third in the age group with a 140 total.
The boys 15 to 18 year old division was won by Parker Truesdale from Canton, North Carolina. Truesdale moved up to claim the age group title with a final round 7-under par 65 and a two day total of 136.
He finished one shot in front of last year’s champion Zack Rueland of Rock Hill while Zach Roberts of Holly Springs, North Carolina and Colin Trahan of North Augusta tied for third.
Tip Price, the recent Drive, Chip and Putt winner at Augusta claimed the young boys championship. The Greenville golfer played two nine hole rounds and finished with a 69 to win the division.
Brock wins girl’s overall championship.
You might think because her last name is the same as the name of the golf professional honored by the tournament that Anna Grace Brock might have an advantage.
“I am not any relation to Harvey Brock,” joked the girls overall champion at the Harvey Brock Orange Jacket Classic.
The tournament is played in honor of the long time area professional who passed away a few years ago at the age of 90. Brock was held in high regard for his teaching skills and especially his work with junior golfers in the Pendleton, Pickens and Clemson area.
Brock, from Greenwood, closed her rounds each day with a handful of birdies.
The Emerald High School golfer birdied three of her last four holes on Saturday. On Sunday she finished even better with birdies on four of her last five holes to win the overall title.
“My putting was great and it was really good on the last few holes,” she said. “I had no idea that I needed all of them to win,” said Brock.
The future UNC Greensboro golfer shot rounds of 73 and 70. Her 143 total gave her a one shot victory over Sarah Boteler of Greenville for the tournament championship.
“I finished third at this tournament in a younger age group a few years ago so it is nice to win. With High School golf season starting I hope I can use this to get off to a good start this year,” she said.
This is the second important win for Brock. During the summer she won her home town tournament, The Jimmy Self Classic at the Greenwood Country Club.
The victory at the Orange Jacket tournament should move Brock into the top-10 of the SCJGA rankings.
Boteler won the girls 13-15 year old division by two shots over Karlee Vardas of Lexington. MK Talledo of Boiling Springs was third one shot behind Vardas.
In the girls 16-18 year old division Brock was followed by Gillian O’Brien from Clemson. O’Brien earned runner-up honors with a 149 two day total. Katelyn Lee from Easley finished in third place with a 150 total.
The youngest girls division 10-12, was won by Peyton O’Brien from Clemson.
Complete scores from the Harvey Brock Orange Jacket Classic are available here