It is not unusual to see the Phillips name on top of a leader board at a South Carolina Junior Golf Association championship.
But if you were following the Harvey Brock Orange Jacket Classic this weekend you saw a different Phillips on top of the standings.
Zach Phillips, the younger brother of University of Georgia golfers Trevor and Trent, earned a break out victory at Brookstone Meadows.
Phillips came from 2-shots off the lead in the final round to record his first SCJGA victory.
“I’ve never seemed to play really well in SCJGA events,” said the Boiling Springs High School golfer. “It is pretty great to get a win,” he added.
Phillips trailed first round leader Max Green from Hilton Head by 2 shots starting the final round. He fell further behind when he doubled the second hole.
“I had a bad lie and then missed a short putt. I just couldn’t get anything going on the front,” he said.
Phillips made the turn at one over par after making two birdies and 2 bogeys to go along with the double.
He fell even further behind when he carded what he said was a ‘good bogey’ on number 12.
“I hit it OB and then almost saved it, but I missed a 6-foot putt. Last year I shot a 67 in the final round and finished second. I knew I could do it once I put my mind to it,” he said.
Things started to change for Phillips on the next hole. He parred number 13 while Green double-bogeyed the hole to cut his 2-shot lead in half.
Green bounced back from his double bogey with a birdie on number14, but Phillips eagled the hole to tie for the lead.
“I hit a 7-iron in there to about seven or eight feet and drilled the putt in the bucket,” he recalled.
With Phillips and Green battling in the final group, Luke Sullivan was making a charge late in his round.
Playing in the second to last group Sullivan also double bogeyed the 13th hole, but then went 4-under par on his last four holes, including an eagle on number 18.
It gave the Columbia golfer a tie for the lead with Phillips and Green while they played their final holes.
Phillips pulled ahead of Green with a birdie on number 17 and claimed the win with a birdie on number 18.
Sullivan matched Phillips’ final round 2-under par 70 to finish second while Green was third at even par.
Greenville’s Benton Leinster finished in fourth place while Lancaster’s Trey Crenshaw, Lexington’s Ashton Eubanks and Andrew Graham from Asheville all tied for fifth at 2-over par.
The victory was significant for Phillips for a couple of reasons.
It was his first significant SCJGA win and second he accomplished something neither of his very talented brothers were able to do during their junior golf careers.
Neither Trevor or Trent won an Orange Jacket.
“To do something they didn’t do, I loved it,” said a very happy champion.
Being the little brother to a pair of college golfers can be a difficult path to travel.
Oldest brother Trevor set the pace for the three boys with his play as a junior while middle brother Trent arguably had the best record ever for a junior from the Palmetto State.
Both older brothers are scholarship golfers at Georgia and Trent was a first team All-American last year.
The youngest brother was expected to fall in line, but instead developed a different reputation.
“I was wild and didn’t care. I wasn’t very mature, but I’ve worked hard at changing,” he said.
Phillips has made an attitude adjustment. He has gotten serious about golf and it shows in his game and his body.
He now works harder on the golf course and works out more in the gym.
“I’m probably spending as much time lifting in the gym as I am on the course. I’ve gotten in better shape and it has improved my game,” he offered.
Phillips is in the top-20 of the Heritage Foundation boys’ ranking and will climb higher after the win.
Now that he has broken through, the high school senior hopes the Orange Jacket win can be the start of a great finish to his junior career.
The boys 13-14 year old championship was won by Dallas Johnson from Mount Pleasant. Johnson carded two straight rounds of 2-over par 74.
Hugh Faulkner from Greenville and Mason Kucia from Indian Land finished in a tie for second one shot behind the winner.
The boys 12 & under title was won by Will Ruth. It was the second big win for the young golfer from Moore. He also won his age group championship at The Blade Classic in July.
Complete scores are available at https://scjga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/scjga20/event/scjga20114/contest/38/leaderboard.htm