The Bobby Chapman Junior at The Country Club of Spartanburg has long been recognized as one of the top 36 hole junior championships in the country.
After 26 years as a two-day tournament, the event expanded to three days and 54 holes for the 27th edition of the event.
While the 36 hole event often produced a champion who was the best player in the field, a golfer could get hot for one day and take home the silver cup as tournament champion.
“Going to 54 holes means the juniors will have to play more than one great round to win,” said Doug Smith, the tournament director. “Adding the extra day will mean a golfer can come back from an average round and still have a chance to win,” he said.
Smith isn’t a psychic, but he did forecast the way the 2021 Chapman would play out on the course.
Caleb Surratt from Indian Trail, NC was the highest ranked and hottest junior coming into the event.
Surratt finished as the runner-up at the Ping Invitational earlier in October.
In the Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings and the AJGA rankings Surratt was third.
This past summer he won the PGA Junior Championship, The Western Junior and added a handful of top-five finishes to go with the wins.
The most impressive win for the future University of Tennessee golfer came at the Terra Cotta Cup in Naples, Florida.
The high school senior beat an amateur field that included competitors of all ages.
Among the golfers Surratt left in his wake were a pair of former US amateur champions, a mid-am champ and a host of recent college All-Americans.
Surratt started his third appearance at the Chapman with a solid 5-under par 66 to trail first round leader Hampton Roberts from Cary, NC by a shot.
Roberts, the defending North Carolina Junior Boys champion, posted another outstanding round when he carded a 5-under par 66 in the second round.
“I hit it really well off the tee again,” said Roberts. “I think what separated me was my wedges were really good. I hit quite a few inside about three or four feet and was able to make some birdies that way,” he said.
Greenville’s Walker Jennings moved into second place on the strength of his second round 4-under par 67.
“I started the day off good with an eagle on my first hole,” Jennings said. “The par-fives are scoreable, so I needed to just play smart and controlled the rest of the way,” he said.
After 36 holes Surratt was in third place. The top player in the field posted an even par 71 in the second round to fall six shots behind the leader, but was confident he could make up the ground in the final round.
“Honestly, I thought I could win even before I teed off. I knew with the plan I made earlier in the week, if I stuck to it, I could win,” he said.
Surratt made three birdies on the front nine while Roberts carded three bogeys.
Surratt was in position to take the lead and he did with a pair of pars after the turn.
“I made two great par saves on numbers 10 and 11 and I told myself you can really win this,” he recalled.
Surratt finished his back nine at 2-under par. His birdie on the par-5 17th hole gave him a three shot lead. His par on the final hole wrapped up the championship.
“This is one of the biggest tournaments I’ve won. It is an amazing course and an amazing place with challenging competitors and that is the best part,” he added.
Surratt shot rounds of 66, 71 and 66 for his 10-under par 203 total and the three shot victory.
Roberts finished in a second place tie with Josh Duangmanee from Fairfax, VA.
The win by Surratt was the third straight victory for the top ranked player in the event to end the week with the trophy.
In 2019 Karl Villips came to the Chapman as the top ranked junior in the country and he left with the title.
Last year David Ford was the second ranked junior in the country and he won the championship and now Surratt keeps the streak of top players winning continuing.
The top local finishers were both from Greenville. Jennings and Tip Price tied for seventh place.
Beaufort’s Jerry Bruns finished ninth while Inman’s Andrew Gregory finished tied for twenty fifth.
Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational scores https://scjga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/scjga21/event/scjga2116/contest/1/leaderboard.htm
Categories: Junior Golf