Upstate Amateur Golf

Champagne Tradition continues at Thornblade Club

Ready to ring in the new year with some champagne are the winners of the annual Champagne Shoot-Out at Thornblade Club. Sean McGaughey, Johnny Smith, Rob Reeves and Crawford Reeves shot 28-under par to win by 7 shots. (GolfClub Photo)

Some of the best events at golf clubs did not start when a committee decided it was time to offer an event, instead some of the best events just started when some members decided to have some fun

This year the Champagne Shootout at Thornblade Club celebrated the 30th renewal of an event that began as a way to kill some time and eventually turned into one of the most popular events on the club schedule.

The tournament began as a shoot-out as something to do to help celebrate the birthday of Thornblade member Tommy Levar.

A group of golfers just went out and had a nine hole shoot out and did it for another few years. The event became more popular and morphed into a one day tournament.

The event has been played every year, regardless of weather conditions.

There have been a few times when rain, sleet or snow has affected play, but play continued every year, just like this year.

The day before the tournament on New Year’s Eve the weather forecast looked grim. Most courses would have called off a big event and tried to find an alternate date.

Instead the professional staff held off on making any decision until Saturday morning, and while it wasn’t a perfect day it was good enough for the long standing traditional event to be played.

The weather was not as bad as predicted. The golfers experienced some rain and some wet fairways.

On the course the team of Crawford and Rob Reeves along with Johnny Smith and Greenville Country Club’s Director of Golf Sean McGaughey won the event by a whopping 7 shots.

“We made a lot of putts, a lot of putts,” said Rob Reeves. “Everybody took turns making putts and you have to putt great to win,” he said.

Reeves is one of only a handful of the original golfers who started the event, even though at the time they didn’t have any idea it would grow into what it is today.

“We just were playing golf and people heard about it and wanted to play. It got too big for a shoot-out and with Jay (Haas) and other pros that play here coming out has made this very popular,” said Reeves.

The winning team benefited from the play of former Clemson golfer Crawford Reeves, who kept the team in good position off the tee all day.

The winning team carded an amazing 28 under par to finish 7-shots in front of the team of Ryan O’Sullivan, Marc Smith, Chad Reingaldt and Korn-Ferry Tour player and the 2022 ACC Champion Jacob Bridgeman.

Bridgeman was joined by a number of other Touring pros, college players and local club pros who join the field to captain the three-man amateur teams during the event.

Also playing in the Champagne Shoot-out this year was new PGA Tour professional Carson Young.

Young earned his spot on the Korn-Ferry Tour while a Thornblade All-Star, The Thornblade All-Star program offers playing privileges to a select group of aspiring Tour professionals each year to help them as they attempt to earn status on the professional tour.

After a year on the Korn-Ferry Tour, Young advanced and will play on the PGA Tour in 2023.

The prize for the win is a split of champagne and knowing you finished your year as a winner.


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