By Jed Blackwell Associate Editor-Publisher
Will Hartman’s final round at the Bobby Chapman Junior Invitational at the Country Club of Spartanburg was a bit of a rollercoaster.
His finish was just what everybody expected.
Hartman finished a phenomenal weekend at the tournament, firing a third-round 70, a three-day total of 204, and a finish of 9-under-par to win the event in wire-to-wire fashion, taking a three-stroke win over William Jennings from Greenville, SC.
“I honestly played about as good as I could,” said Hartman, a high school sophomore at Charlotte Catholic. “Playing against these amazing golfers, that’s what it takes to win. I’m just glad I had my best game this week.”
Jennings came into the final round in third place, and when he triple-bogeyed the Par 5 first and Hartman started with a par, the final round looked to be just a formality.
However, Jennings started to climb back into it after another bogey with birdies at Nos. 5, 7, and 9, while Hartman gave two strokes back with a four-putt at the par-3 sixth.
“He made me a little nervous,” Hartman said of Jennings. “If not for a bad first hole, it would have been a lot closer there at the end. I’m glad he played well. It made it a lot more fun.”
Both made bogey early on the back nine, setting the stage for a finish that was all over the scorecard.
Jennings played the final five holes in four-under, with birdies at 14, 16, 17, and a bending putt of more than 30 feet on the 18th that found the bottom of the cup.
Hartman, meanwhile, was even through the final four, going bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie. He stuck his approach at the par-4 18th to six feet, and calmly answered Jennings’ birdie with one of his own.
“It was about six feet, maybe eight,” he said with a grin. “I though I hit it in the bunker. I got a little lucky that it carried it, and it turned out to be a good shot.”
His work on the greens was a key to his win, Hartman said.
“I putted really well,” he said.”It’s probably the best I’ve ever putted in a tournament. Before today, I didn’t have any three-putts. I had the four-putt and two three-putts today, but I was still able to come out on top. I’d say my putting is what helped me win.”
Hartman said he enjoyed his second appearance in the tournament.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s a really well-run event, a really hard course, and it’s just a lot of fun.”
That fun was evident on Sunday, with a big crowd of spectators turning out to watch the golfers.
The last two groups in particular drew a large group of followers, and the youngest spectators found some heros to follow.
Future Clemson golfer Will Baker, for example, posed for photos with young fans and was happy, if a little taken aback, to field interview requests.
South Carolina Junior Golf Association Senior Director Justin Fleming said scenes like that one underscore how much the Chapman means to junior golf in the state.
“When it was started 27 years ago, junior golf was not what it is today,” Fleming said. “There wasn’t a tournament every weekend in every town. It was started for South Carolina kids to have their own national-type event that they could play. Now, it’s a national event that draws kids from all over. There’s a good crop of young kids out here who will be some of the next ones playing in it. Them going out and watching the big kids play is just really cool. They’ll be the future in a couple of years.”
Fleming said the strength of the field is something that keeps those spectators, both young and old, coming back to the tournament.
“It’s almost like a mini-PGA tour event,” he said. “We were at a tournament yesterday, and heard the stat that 99 percent of college golfers won’t play on the PGA Tour. In this event, though, I’d be willing to say that 40 to 50 percent of these guys will. Nationally, the strength of field here is always a Top-20, usually a Top-10 event in the country.”
Scores from the Bobby Chapman Junior played at The Country Club of Spartanburg https://scjga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/scjga22/event/scjga2220/contest/1/leaderboard.htm
The Bobby Chapman Junior is played in memory of Robert H. (Bobby) Chapman.
Chapman was president of Inman Mills and was a national leader in the textile industry.
An avid golfer Chapman was a nine time Spartanburg Country Club champion, a regular participant in Carolinas golf events who advanced twice to compete in the USGA Amateur Championship,
As a leader in the Carolinas golfing community Chapman served as the president of both the Carolinas Golf Association and the South Carolina Golf Association.
Bobby Chapman Junior Champions and AlumniSince theBobby Chapman Junior began in 1995 the tournament has enjoyed showcasing the outstanding junior golfers first in the area, then the Southeast and now from around the country.
The first champion set the stage for the quality and the future success of tournament participants.
Lucas Glover, from Greenville, SC won the first Bobby Chapman Junior. Glover went on to earn All-Amercan recognition in college at Clemson.
Professionally Glover has enjoyed a long and success career that was highlighted by his win in the 2005 US Open.
The Bobby Chapman Junior numbers amongst its alumni major golf championships, led by Major champions Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.
See the listing of the events notable alumni https://www.bobbychapmaninvitational.com/notable-alumni
Categories: Junior Golf