Pardon the mixed metaphor, but Major Lenning is batting l,000 at the Jimmy Self Invitational golf championship.
The Mauldin High School golfer has played in the South Carolina Junior Golf Association event on the Arthur Hills course at Palmetto Dunes in Hilton head twice and he has won both times.
“This course has been good to me,” said the back to back champion. “I was able to remember the good things I did last year and not the bad stuff and that helped,” he said.
Lenning trailed first round leader Luke Block from Bluffton by 5 shots after the first round. Block shot a 3-under par 69 while Lenning carded at 74 to be tied for seventh with 6 other golfers.
In the second round, Lenning tied James Fulmer from Spartanburg for the low round of the day. Both golfers shot 3-under par 69s.
Fulmer added his score to a first round 70 to take a 4-shot lead over Lenning going into the final round.
The defending champion started his final round with a birdie. With very little margin for error off the tee he was able to keep his ball in play most of the round.
“There definitely are a lot of challenging holes and some of the tee shots are rough. I was able to hit good drives on those scary holes,” he said.
Fulmer was not as fortunate, making bogeys on two of his first four holes. The Spartanburg golfer saw his lead completely disappear when he doubled the par-5 seventh hole.
While Lenning gained the advantage over Fulmer with a solid 1-under par front nine, Walker Felton from Mt Pleasant was applying pressure to the new leader.
“The whole back nine was a battle. I knew I had the lead, but it was getting close,” said Lenning.
Felton birdied the 10th hole to cut Lennning’s lead to just 2-shots. He built it back up to 3-shots with a birdie on number 12, but gave it right back when he found the water on number 13.
Playing in the final group, Lenning and Felton traded birdies on the next two holes leaving Lenning with a two shot lead with two to play.
Both golfers parred 17, but Lenning had trouble on the final hole.
“I didn’t hit a great tee shot and then I hit a bad wedge and had to lag my ball to the hole. I didn’t get up and down,” he said.
Fortunately the bogey didn’t cost him his lead. Felton finished with a par leaving Lenning with a 1-shot victory and his second straight win in the tournament.
Last year Lenning won the title in a playoff when he parred the same 18th hole.
The rising junior at Mauldin High School has had a good summer with a few events left to play.
He qualified to play in the USGA Junior in Pinehurst by winning his qualifying tournament.
The Greenville County High School champion finished 4th at the SCGA Junior, 3rd at the Grant Bennett, 9th at the GA SC Junior Match Play and 20th at the CGA Junior Boys.
“My round felt pretty good today. It feels good to be the back-to-back champion. That was definitely one of my goals going into this tournament, so it feels good and definitely brings a lot of confidence,” said the two-time champion.
Fulmer finished in a tie for third place with first round leader Block. Mitchel McNeil from North Augusta was fifth with Matthew Baxley from Beech Island and Ashton Eubanks from Lexington tied for sixth place.
Greenville’s Hugh Faulkner, Ballou Philips from Augusta and Ryan Bozard from Charleston shared eighth place in the final standings.
Scores from the SCJGA Jimmy Self Invitational https://scjga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/scjga21/event/scjga2111/contest/1/leaderboard.htm