High School Golf

Boiling Springs wins AAAAA Championship

The Boiling Springs Bulldogs are the South Carolina AAAAA Champions. The 2021 team won 10 tournaments during the season and was ranked number one in AAAAA from the start to the end of the year. Members of the team included (front) Easton Keller and medalist Zach Phillips, (back row, l-r) Andrew Gregory, Davis Hill, Coach Josh Pruett, Walker Greene and Clayton Taylor.

The number 1 ranked AAAAA team in the SC Golf Coaches Poll looked every bit of the top ranked team as Boiling Springs ran away from the field to win the championship by 15 shots.

With the team title in hand the final round turned into a shoot out among four golfers for the individual title

Playing in the final group Boiling Spring’s Zach Phillips and first round leader Nathan Franks from Dorman were tied going to the final three holes.

Phillips rolled in a short birdie putt on number 15 to set up the three hole shoot-out.

Both golfers missed birdie chances on number 16 and went to number 17 still tied.

Phillips and Franks both hit big drives putting themselves in position to go for the green with their second shots.

Phillips crushed his second shot and it ended up long and to the left of the green. It looked as if he had opened the door for Franks to retake the lead.

The future USC Upstate golfer had to negotiate some rough, the fringe and then a downward slope to the hole from about 20 yards.

First round leader Nathan Franks from Dorman and Zach Phillips from Boiling Springs staged a head to head battle in the final round at The Country Club of South Carolina. (GolfClub Photo)

Phillips has hit a lot of good shots in his young career, but none have been better than his chip- in eagle on the 17th hole to break the tie with Franks.

Wasting little time Phillips took aim, hit his shot, watched it bounce and then make a straight line for the hole and the lead.

“I wanted to hit it close,” said Phillips. “It was straight into the grain and I knew it would stop. I hit a little nipper in there and it popped in. When I hit I knew it would be close,” he said.

Franks, who rarely shows anything except a Las Vegas quality poker face on the course, chuckled as he got ready to try to finish the hole.

“I’ve had my share of those things happen for me,” said the future Gamecock golfer. “You just take them in stride and try to make your next shot,” he said.

Franks gave it a good roll and just missed his putt and settled for a par.

The Bulldog golfer now had a two shot lead going to the final hole.

“One shot and you have a chance, two shots is pretty tough to make up on one hole. I had a lot of birdie chances on the back and didn’t get anything to drop and ended up with all pars,” said the future Gamecock golfer.

Zach Phillips eagled the par-5 17th hole to take the lead and went on to win medalist honors at the 2021 SCHSL AAAAA Championship. (GolfClub Photo)

On the final hole both golfers carded pars and Phillips knew that he had finished in front of his closest rival for the individual championship, but on the other side of the course two other golfers were close to the lead.

Playing the front nine last, Major Lenning from Mauldin had gotten to 3-under par at about the same time Phillips and Franks did on the back.

Hanna’s Jackson Scaletta, also playing his final nine on the front nine, eagled the par 5 second hole and added a birdie on the 5th hole to also go to 3-under par.

Scaletta bogeyed a hole coming in to drop him back to 3-under par and 1-stroke behind Phillips to finish in second place.

Lenning also had an ill-timed bogey and fell back to 2-under par and into a tie for third with Franks.

Phillips shot an opening round 1-under 71 and followed it up with his 3-under par final round 69 for a 140 total and the win.

Phillips win gave the Boiling Springs family its 4th state individual championship. Zachs’ older brother Trent, now a college All-American at Georgia, won the state title three times while playing for Boiling Springs.

“Its awesome, to go out with a bang and now I get to brag a little to Trent,” said the new state champion.

With the win the Bulldogs completed their season with 10 tournament titles. They won the first two by a single shot, but got better and built bigger winning margins as the year went on.

“It took us awhile to get started and get going. We knew the kind of team we had and we just had to play out game, obviously in the post season it gets a little tougher. Yesterday we came out and shot a good score and I knew if we could do it again we could win,” added Pruitt.

The victory at the course in Florence exercised some demons from Pruitt’s team. It was three years ago the Bulldog’s entered the final round with a lead over Gaffney only to be steamrolled by a record setting performance from Zach Gordon and his Indian teammates.

“Yeah that always comes up, but its great that we got this one today. We shot 1-under and lost by 26, so this is a little payback,” said the Bulldog coach.

Fort Milll edged out Dorman for second place by 2-shots with Spartanburg and Lexington tying for fourth place.

2021 AAAAA All-State golfers. (GolfClub Photo)

The top-10 golfers earned All-State recognition. In addition to the top four, also earning All-State honors were Drew Harrill-Spartanburg, Grant Paulucci – Blythewood, Jonathan Cowell – St James, Davis Hill and Andrew Gregory – Boiling Springs, Barrett Josey – Byrnes and Bryce Wittmer – Fort Mill.

AAAAA Scores from Birdie Fire at https://www.birdiefire.com/tournament/67754/

Hear from Zach Phillips the AAAAA individual champion and Josh Pruett the head coach at Boiling Springs about their championships.

Zach Phillips AAAAA South Carolina State Champion

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