Until the start of November it has been practice, practice and more practice for Gamecock newcomer Liam Shinn.
The freshman from Norcross, Georgia came to Columbia and with a limited fall schedule for the starters on the golf team, Shinn has had plenty of time to practice.
“About all I do is practice,” said Shinn. “I get my school work done and then I’m at our practice facility until it gets dark,” he said.
The practice paid off for the new USC golfer, He shot rounds of 70-73-69 for a 4-under par 212 total and the win at the Golfweek Carolina Country Club Amateur in Spartanburg.
Shinn opened the 54 hole tournament with a 2-under par 70. A string of four birdies on the last five holes allowed Shinn to share the lead with Coastal Carolina golfer Brady Hinkle.
Shinn lost some ground the next day and finished his second round with a disappointing 1-over par 73.
He fought with his putter most of the day and headed to the practice green right after he finished to fix his problem.
“I talked to my dad and my coach (Bill McDonald USC Golf Coach) and worked through some things. The greens were really slick so I wasn’t hitting my putts firmly. We decided it would be better to be 3-feet past the hole than having the putts tail off before the hole,” he said.
In the final round Shinn used the same game plan he had the first two days. Aim for the middle of the fairway and the widest part of the green.
Once on the green his putting tip helped him burn the edge of the cup on many holes and put birdies on his scorecard on others.
With more confidence in his putting Shinn was able to stay with second round leader Joey McCarthy from Cincinnati, until McCarthy had a problem.
On the 14th hole McCarthy found the woods off the tee. He punched out and recovered, but used a couple of shots to chase the ball around the green before settling for an 8 and losing his lead.
Shinn made a birdie on the hole that put the Gamecock golfer in the lead.
“That hole was big. I went from 3-back to a two shot lead, a 5-shot swing,” he said.
The South Carolina golfer made another birdie on number 16 to make his lead 3-shots over McCarthy.
With a comfortable margin on the final hole Shinn flirted with disaster.
“I hit my tee shot right into the woods and near the water. After I hit it I thought I might have thrown away the tournament,” he said.
Instead Shinn recovered and his third shot on the par 5 finishing hole ended up within a foot of the cup
Shinn converted the birdie putt and carded a 3-under par 69 for a 4-under par 54 hole total of 212. He was the only golfer to finish under par in the tournament.
The Gamecock freshman’s last win was in an AJGA tournament so winning an event by topping college players from all over the country was a big step forward for the young golfer.
“This is my first college win and it means a lot to me. I know all the practicing I’ve been doing is paying off,” he said.
With only one more tournament on the Gamecocks fall schedule Shinn is hoping his win might get his coach to think about adding him to the squad for the next event.
“I’d like to think this would help me get a look from coach, but we have really outstanding players. I’d like to break into the lineup, but thats not up to me,” he added.
McCarthy finished with a 77 for a 217 total and third place while Cameron Willis shot a final round 70 to finish as the runner-up.
USC Upstate’s Hunter Fry finished in fourth place.
South Carolina’s Jack Wall tied with David Hrubala from Spartanburg Methodist, Coastal Carolina’s Brady Hinkle and West Virginia’s Kurtis Grant for fifth place.
Smyth tops Moosa for Women’s championship
The 14th hole made the difference in the men’s championship and it almost did the same in the women’s tournament.
University of Virginia golfer Riley Smyth had the women’s championship under control. Smyth started the final round at 3-under par, the only golfer under par in the tournament after two rounds.
Furman’s Madison Moosa was 6 shots back in third place and 1-shot behind Mathilde Delavallade from Penn State for second.
Delavallade fell off the pace early in the round leaving Moosa as the only other golfer with any chance to catch the leader.
On the 14th hole Smyth put a quad on her scorecard. She made an 8 on the same hole that the men’s leader McCarthy would do later in the day.
Moosa still trailed by 2-shots and parred out while Smyth took another bogeyed on the 17th hole, giving her the win by the narrowest of margins.
Delavallade finished in third place with a 221 total for the tournament.
One local golfer earned a top-10 finish as Wofford’s Becca Earl ended up in a tie for ninth place.
Two other Lady Paladin golfers, Caroline Wrigley and Kyra Cox tied for 11th place.
Complete scoring available at http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=player&tid=21746