With the Greenville County Amateur being played on Nelson Dickson’s home course, The Preserve at Verdae member knew what he had to do to win.
Instead of agonizing over some new strategy for playing the familiar track, Dickson decided to stick with what worked for him and put his home course advantage into play.
“I know every break on every green,” said the former USC Upstate golfer. “I was going to play the tournament just like I play with my buddies here at the club,” he said.
Dickson opened the 54 hole event with a sizzling 7-under par 65 to take the first round lead. It was an exceptional score, but one that was not unexpected.
“I thought I would play pretty well after my practice round on Thursday. When I finished Thursday night I thought I could have a good tournament,” he said.
While the 65 was a great score Dickson did not jump out to a big lead. Presbyterian College golfer Lleyton Renner was close behind.
Renner recovered from a double bogey on his eighth hole, in the first round, to shoot a 5-under par 67, He trailed Dickson by 2-shots after the opening round.
It often can be hard to back up a great round like Dickson shot on Friday, but he was able to post a solid second round score of 4-under par 68.
It was good enough to keep the lead, but Renner didn’t lose any ground. He was still 2-back after matching Dickson’s 68 in the second round and still trailed by 2 shots going into the final round.
2002 Greenville County Champion Jeremy Revis had the best round posted on the second day. Revis shot a 7-under 65 after being at even par to start the second round and moved him up to third place and into contention..
In the final round, Dickson, Renner, Revis and Robbie Biershenk, who had been just a shot or two away from being a factor in the title chase, would play in the final group.
Dickson didn’t waste anytime adding to his lead. He birdied the first hole and then benefited from Renner making a double bogey on the second hole.
The way the leaders played the first two holes allowed Dickson to increase his lead to 5-shots just before the turn.
Renner struggled on the first nine holes and Revis and Biershenk were not able to make up any ground on Renner or Dickson.
After the turn a combination of Renner’s birdies and a double bogey on number 13 by Dickson, allowed the college golfer to pull within two shots by the 15th hole.
“I made a big mistake on 13. I hoped it would not cost me the tournament. After I doubled the hole he (Renner) birdies the next hole, but fortunately I had enough left to finish,” Dickson said.
Both golfers birdied the 18th hole to end the round exactly the way they started the day.
Dickson shot a final round 2-over par 74 while Renner also finished at 74 to be second 2-shots behind the leader,
“I started off the summer playing pretty good, but a few weeks ago I hit a slump, but I got it going again here. I didn’t miss a fairway until today (3rd round) and then I only missed two and I had a hot putter on top of it,” Dickson said.
Danny Brock was a college teammate of Dickson at Upstate, The 2018 Greenville County champion shot a 5-under 67 to finish in third place.
Bradley Tedstone matched Brock’s 5- under par to finish in a tie with Robbie Biershenk for fourth place.
“When I got out to a 5-shot lead I thought I could just shoot for the middle of the green, but towards the end it got close. It is really special to win here at the Preserve,” concluded the 2021 Greenville County Amateur Champion.
Flight Winners included, First Flight – (Tie) Mike Hartin, Dan Constantino. Second Flight – Tanner Reynolds.
Wagner wins Greenville County Senior
This was the first year the Greenville County Golf Association had both amateurs and senior golfers on the course at the same time.
After trying a couple of different formats the Association combined the Amateur with a Senior Am that turned into an interesting battle for the division crown.
Bobby Hines, who last year was inducted into the Greenville County Golf Hall of Fame shot an even par 72 and followed it up with second round 1-under par 71.
Hines who is 72 shot his age and then one better to lead the Senior Championship after the first two rounds.
“I’ve been blessed with good health,” said Hines. “To be old and do this, it was fun being in the hunt again,” he said.
Duff Wagner was 2-shots behind Hines after the first round and 4-shots behind after the second round.
On Sunday, Wagner started out hot with a birdie on his first hole. A double-bogey on his eighth hole only slowed him down a little as he was able to overtake Hines for the lead by the turn.
On the back nine Wagner built a 3-shot cushion and went on to win the Greenville County Senior championship..
“With that kind of lead I didn’t have to take any chances. I played a little easy because I didn’t want any mistakes,” said Wagner.
Wagner shot rounds of 73-73 and even par 72 in the final round for a 2-over 218 total.
Wagner, who retired in 2019, was pleased that the extra time he now has to practice paid off with the win.
“Since I retired I’ve had the time to work on my game. I’m hitting the ball better now than when I could only play on the weekends,” said Wagner.
Hines, who spoted Wagner 10-years in the Senior Division, didn’t play as well as he wanted in the last round.
“I just never could get comfortable over the ball, but it was still fun. I loved being in contention and loved the competition,” said Hines.
Ken Kirkland finished third while Terry Willis and Ron Clontz tied for fourth in the Senior Division.
Greenville County Amateur scores https://greenvillecga.bluegolf.com/bluegolfw/greenvillecga21/event/greenvillecga211/contest/34/leaderboard.htm
Gallery from the final round of the Greenville County Am. Photos from Gwinn Davis Media. Click on any image to begin slide show.
Categories: Upstate Amateur Golf