Griz set to defend Chapman Junior title

Hear from the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational defending champion Jonathan Griz as he gets ready to defend his 2018 championship.

Griz set to defend his Chapman Junior championship.

Jonathan Griz from Hilton Head is the defending champion and the reigning South Carolina Junior Player of the Year.(GolfClub photo)

After the first round of the 2018 Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational Jonathan Griz’s name wasn’t near the top of the leader board.

Nick Dunlap from Greer will try to improve on his fifth place finish in last year’s Chapman. (GolfClub photo)

By the end of the second round, Griz made up six shots to win the Chapman and send notice that the Hilton Head junior was among the best young golfers in the country.

“When you win a big tournament like this it helps,” said Griz. “I was doing well before, but this is such a big event it really helps you get noticed,” he said.

Griz used his win at the Chapman to help him win the South Carolina Junior Golf Association Player of the Year award and the Carolinas Golf Association’s top junior award.

It also put him into the national rankings which opened the doors to play in other big tournaments this year.

The high school sophomore has notched a victory at the Gator Invitational in Mississippi this year, but there have also been some tournaments that Griz has not played well.

“I’ve won three times, but its been a roller coaster. I’d either win or not play so well. I’m looking to finish on a good note in the last four events,” he said.

Defending his championship at the Country Club of Spartanburg has been a top priority for the future University of Alabama golfer.

“I’ve been looking forward to this since I won it last year. It is great to be back here. When you win a tournament and you come back you get good vibes, I’m ready,” said the defending champion.

Lucas Glover won the first Chapman championship in 1995. Glover won the 2009 US Open. (GolfClub file photo)

This is the 25th anniversary of the junior championship and it may feature the strongest field ever to play in the tournament.

Using one national poll, this year’s Chapman has 53 of the top 100 juniors in the country in Spartanburg for the tournament.

Among the golfers in the field is the number one ranked junior Karl Vilips from Australia who lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida. The defending USGA Junior champion Preston Summerhayes from Scottsdale, Arizona is another of the highly ranked players in the event.

Since the first championship in 1995 the tournament has dozens of distinguished Alumni. The list starts with the events first winner, the 2009 US Open champion Lucas Glover.

Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Bill Haas and Kevin Kisner are just a few of the notable alumni of the championship.

Two golfers have won back to back titles. Christo Grayling won the 1999 and 2000 events while Peter Uihlein captured the 2005 and 2006 championships.

Spartanburg County Junior champion Daniel Brasington would like to be the first home town winner. (GolfClub photo)

Griz would like to be the third golfer to add his name to that list.

“It was an incredible final round (last year). Hopefully I can get off to a better start than I did last year to be able to have a chance to win . It would be pretty cool to repeat,” concluded the defending champion.

Tee times begin at 9 am on Saturday and the event is open to the public at the Country Club of Spartanburg.




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