Stop me if you heard this one before!
Nathan Franks plays a good first round, but trails the leaders going into the final round.
The Dorman High School senior is close enough to make a run at the leaders and finally catches them with a birdie on his last hole.
He then waits around to see if his score is good enough to make a playoff.
When it is and he is in, he wins the playoff.
So far the future Gamecock golfer has followed that script, with only minor deviations in his last three tournaments. Three tournaments he has won in a row.
“Maybe it is because I know what I have to do to catch up,” he said. “I really haven’t thought about why it happens, I’m glad it has,” he said.
Franks most recent win was at the Henry Transou Memorial at Cherokee National Golf Club in Gaffney.
It probably was a little bit of a surprise when the defending champion and 2-time winner of the event started out shooting an even par 72.
It put Franks 6-shots off the lead set by Mason Tucker from Lancaster who posted a first round 6-under par 66.
It also left him behind or tied with 11 other golfers going into the final round.
Franks played ok on the front nine and made the turn at 1-under par, but wasn’t sure what the leaders were doing front of him.
“I really didn’t know where I stood. I just knew I had to play better on the back nine,” he said.
He birdied number 15 and 16 to get closer. After he birdied number 18 to finish at 4-under par 68 for the day and the tournament he just had to wait.
Simon Wright and Trey Crenshaw from Lancaster and Jerry Bruns from Beaufort all had chances to avoid a playoff, but none of the three were able to birdie the final hole.
The four-way playoff started on the first hole. Franks as first in, was first up and ripped a perfect drive.
He his second shot with a 3-iron landed around 8 feet from the hole.
“I had a putt from about the same distance, but from the other side when I played the hole the first time,” he said.
Franks missed that putt, but he remembered how it broke and nailed the 8 footer for an eagle on the par-5 hole.
The playoff win earned Franks his third title in the event. He won his first in 2017 and now has back to back wins in 2019 and 2020.
“I always like playing here. The greens are always awesome and it is among the best places we ever play. I’m pretty happy about three good tournament wins,” he said.
See Nathan Franks Winning Putt
Franks has competed with many of the best junior golfers in both North and South Carolina accomplishing his hat-trick.
In August at Mimosa Hills Franks fell 5-shots behind in the final round.
He birdied numbers 13, 14 and 15 while playing one group in front of the final pairing,
Franks rolled in a pressure packed birdie on 18 to finish with his second straight 68 and then had to wait for the leaders to finish.
When Zach Adams from Charleston and Jack Conklin from Cary missed birdie putts, Franks was in a 3-way playoff.
Conklin was eliminated on the first playoff hole. Adams and Franks played even on the second extra hole.
On the third hole Adams missed a 30 foot birdie putt and then missed his par putt.
Franks drained a 5-footer for his par and the championship of the first Mimosa Hills Invitational.
The story was almost the same a couple of weeks later at the Creed Junior Boys Invitational played at the Camden Country Club.
This time he was only a shot back entering the final round, but fell to 3-shots back midway through the last 18 holes.
“I knew if I played well I would have a chance,” said Franks. “I struggled a little bit early and went three or four back. I just kept trying to hit fairways and greens, because this place is hard,” he said.
Franks caught the leader Max Green from Hilton Head on the 11th hole.
The two battled back and forth with the winner to be determined on the final hole.
Franks had a 1-shot lead and Green had a makable birdie putt on 18.
Green’s putt missed by a few inches, but Franks didn’t. He made his par and won a second straight championship.
“It is a great championship to win and I am glad I won. It was a really fun week,” said the Creed Invitational champion.
Once can be luck, twice can be coincidence, but three wins in much the same fashion have established Franks as a viable contender for Player of the Year honors.
“I don’t think about that. I only want to play as well as I can in every tournament,” he said and he has done by winning the last three events.
Franks hopes to keep his hot streak going in two big events next up on his schedule.
He will play in the Bill Horschel AJGA championship and the Bobby Chapman Junior at the Country Club of Spartanburg.
Franks younger sister Abbey made it two wins for the family in Gaffney when she won the girls 13-18 year old division.
Two Spartanburg golfers took the top spots in the boys 7-9 year old division. Patrick Cutler topped Kingston Linder by 3 shots for the title.
Luke Parsons from Salley, SC topped Spartanburg’s Davis Petty for the boys 10-12 title.