Todd White didn’t just beat Logan Sowell for the CGA South Carolina Match Play championship, he also beat father time.
The 52 year old golfer from Roebuck turned in a dominating performance to beat the rising senior at the College of Charleston 6&5 in the final match at the Orangeburg Country Club.
“I’ve worked really hard in the last 10 years to try and maintain my physical condition to remain somewhat competitive,” White said. “The college guys, they hit it so much further than we mid-ams and senior-ams, so we’ve got to be able to find some way to compete,” he said.
In the finals White didn’t just compete against his much younger opponent, he dominated.
White matched birdies with Sowell on the second hole and then reeled off three more birdies to go 3up after five holes and hold that lead at the turn.
“Any time you get off to a good start like that it puts you in a good frame of mind. Orangeburg Country Club is not overly long, so it lends itself to me having the opportunity to compete,” White said.
After the turn, White added to his lead with two more birdies on 10 and 11 to go 5up in the match.
“I’ve played enough of these matches to know that if someone throws 7-birdies at you it is pretty hard to get a win,” he said.
Sowell, who had finished as the runner-up the last two years, wasn’t playing badly he just ran into a buzz saw.
The only bogey on his card came on the 13th hole and that ended the match. White made a par to finish off the young golfer 6&5 for his fourth championship in the CGA event.
Amazingly White almost did’t make the field of 32. He needed a 25 foot putt on his final hole in the 36 hole qualifier just to make it into match play and have the chance to earn his fourth win.
“I came into the event hitting the ball well. I wasn’t sure how my short game would hold up. I did putt well the last nine holes of stroke play and that carried over into match play. As my irons got closer and closer to the hole, I was able to capitalize,” he said.
White never played the 18th hole in his five matches. The closest he came to needing all the holes on the course was when he beat Wofford College golfer Henry Augenstein from Columbia 2&1 in his semi-final match.
It also was the only time the veteran amateur thought he was feeling his age.
“I did get a little fatigued in the afternoon match, but if you want to compete you have to get it done,” said White.
The Spartanburg High School golf coach won his other three matches by scores of 4&3, 5&4 and 3&1.
With the win White broke a tie with two other golfers for most SC Match Play Championships. Spartanburg’s Barry Black and Charleston’s Bert Atkinson had been tied with White each having won three titles.
“I’d be lying if I said that winning that fourth and separating myself from Bert and Barry was not a goal, because it has been a goal. Three years ago, I missed out on accomplishing it. Luckily I had the opportunity to do it today and was able to get it done,” he said.
In addition to being almost 30 years since his first championship White has now won the title in four different decades and won each won a little differently.
“The first time I won I was in college. The second time I was in my 30s. The next time I won I played really well and this time it validates all the work I have done to stay in shape to be able to keep competing,” he said.
Nothing will top White’s selection to the 2013 Walker Cup team on his golf resume or his victory with partner Nathan Smith at the Olympic Club in the first USGA Four-Ball championship.
But his fourth Match Play win will be added to a long list of achievements that includes winning Player of the Year honors from the South Carolina Golf Association five times, the 1990 SCGA Amateur, the 2004 SCGA Mid-Am, four All-SoCon selections and All-American recognition.
“Being able to win in 1991, 2004, 2010 and now in 2020, I am most proud of the longevity with which I’ve been able to maintain my game, that is something to be proud of,” he added.
While beating the college kids and the mid-ams at what most would consider an advanced age, White may be getting ready to take aim at a new challenge when he will again be the young guy in the field.
Senior golf is just around the corner.
“I’ve got two and a half years to wait,” concluded the 2020 CGA SC Match Play champion.