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Hollingsworth wins the Upstate Amateur

Presbyterian College rising junior Thomas Hollingsworth shot a final round 5-under par 67 to win the Upstate Amateur at Green Valley Country Club. (GolfClub photo)

The final round of the Upstate Amateur would have made for great TV.

Plenty of birdies and bogeys from four golfers who would either hold or share the lead in the second round before a dramatic putt on the final hole determined the winner.

Presbyterian College golfer Thomas Hollingsworth drained a 22 footer on 18 at Green Valley for the Upstate Amateur championship.

Furman golfer Walker Crosby led after the first round of the Upstate Amateur before finishing as the tournament runner-up. (GolfClub photo)

Hollingsworth trailed Furman golfer Walker Crosby by a shot going into the final round, but he had lots of company chasing the leader.

Twelve golfers were within three shots of the lead starting the second day.

2021 CGA SC Match Play champion Jason Steiner from Fort Mill started the second round with three straight birdies to take a share of the early lead.

J.D. Lehman got off to a hot start to challenge for the lead at the Upstate Amateur. Lehman finished in a tie for fifth. (GolfClub photo)

Former Louisville golfer JD Lehman birdied four of his first five holes to get within a shot of Crosby on the front nine.

Crosby made the turn at 7 under par for the  tournament, but Hollingsworth shot a 2-under par front nine to catch the leader at the turn.

Lehman trailed the two by a shot until his birdie on 13 gave him a one shot lead, but it didn’t last for long. 

Hollingsworth would birdie fifteen and eagle sixteen to pass Lehman and Crosby to take the lead.

“I hit driver and five iron to about three feet,” said Hollingsworth. “I was pretty nervous over the putt because I knew how important it was,” he said.

Hollingsworth rolled it in for the eagle, but Crosby made his birdie to cut the eagle’s benefit to only one shot.

Lehman, playing in front of the leaders was tied with Crosby at 7-under par, but a double bogey on seventeen ended his chance for the win.

Both leaders parred their seventeenth and went to the final hole separated by a single shot.

Hollingsworth’s 54 degree sand wedge second shot landed on the green below the hole.

Crosby was a little closer with a side hill lie.

Thomas Hollingsworth celebrates his winning birdie putt on the final hole at Green Valley Country Club. (GolfClub photo)

Hollingsworth was away and knew if he could make the birdie he was the winner.

“I told myself he was going to make his putt so I had to make mine or it would be a playoff,” he said.

Hollingsworth had the right pace and direction and the ball clunked when it found the bottom of the cup.

As expected, Crosby followed up Hollingsworth’s birdie with one of his own, but it still left him one shot short of a tie.

Hollngsworth posted identical 67s for the two rounds to finish at 10-under par 134 and the one shot win.

The victory by the Blue Hose golfer gave him an idea that a difficult period for his golf game may be coming to an end.

“I’ve been going through some swing changes and I wasn’t hitting it very well coming in here,” he said.

His friends, family and coaches gave him some very simple advice for the tournament and he was able to follow it  for the win.

“They all said, just take it one shot at a time. I was able to do that and not worry about anyone else. I had fun, played well and won,” said the new Upstate Amateur champion.

Crosby finished second with Clemson golfer Drayton Stewart birdieing three of his final four holes to move up to third place.

Steiner finished alone in fouth place at  137. Lehman, Ron Clontz, Mac Scott and Charles Collings finished in a tie for fifth.

College golfers made up more than  half the field of 144 golfers in the Upstate Amateur.

Many schools use the scores from the tournament to factor into pre-season qualifying rounds which set their lineups for the start of the college season this month.

Thomas Hollingsworth is congratulated by Greenville County Golf Association Director Robbie Gravley after his win in the 2021 Upstate Amateur. (GolfClub photo)

Upstate Amateur scores are available online at: https://greenvillecga.bluegolf.com/bluegolfw/greenvillecga21/event/greenvillecga212/contest/1/leaderboard.htm

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