Parker Jackson turned the final round of the Earl Wooten Memorial from a walk in the park to a nail bitter.
The first round leader was cruising to what appeared to be an easy win at Saluda Valley when the lead and the tournament came close to slipping away.
“My score sounded better than it really was,” Jackson said. “My putter was terrible down the stretch and it nearly got away from me,” he said.
Jackson, who grew up on the Saluda Valley course, took the first round lead by carding a 3-under par 69.
It gave him a 1-shot advantage over Jamie Reece and Randall Poole and 2-shots over Denton Moore.
In the final round Jackson enlarged the lead to 5-shots before he ran into trouble.
“I couldn’t make a putt for four or five holes. I couldn’t get anything to drop,” he said shaking his head.
The other contenders were playing steady, but no one was cutting in to his lead, instead three bogeys in his final four holes had Jackson wondering if he still had the lead going to the final hole.
“I knew where I stood, but there were a bunch of players in front of me who could have been shooting a good number and I was worried about them,” he said.
The bogeys on 15,16 and 17 cut his lead down to just 2-shots.
On the final hole, Jackson hit a good drive, a solid second shot to just off the green and followed it with a pitch up next to the hole.
Jackson’s short birdie putt stoped his skid and won the tournament by 3-shots.
“The birdie saved me. Even winning by 3-shots it felt a lot closer,” he said.
Jackson shot an even par 72 in the final round to finish at 141.
Moore’s 73 moved him up to finish second while Steven Reid’s even par 72 earned him a 3rd place finish.
“It means a lot to me to win this tournament. The club awarded me the Earl Wooten Scholarship and our family and the Wooten’s have been long time friends. I’m glad I was able to win,” said Jackson.
Flight winners included: First Flight – Brad Sill, Second Flight – Kyle Evatt, Third Flight – Johnathon Pack.
The tournament also included a Senior and Super-Senior championship.
Todd Hendley shot rounds of 71 and 67 to win the Senior title by 9-shots with his 138 total. Jimmy Barber finished second at 147.
Senior Flight winners included: First Flight – Jeff Hunter, Second Flight – Mike Kelly.
Doug Tooke won the Super-Senior division. Tooke shot rounds of 68 and 70 for a 138 total.
Jack Kauer finished second at 145.
Flight winners included: First Flight – Buster Wooten, Second Flight – Mike Rowland.
Buster Wooten, the son of the tournament’s namesake made a hole-in-one on #17 in the final round. Wooten used a 6-iron from 140 yards for his fourth career ace.
Categories: Upstate Amateur Golf