Sam Jackson shot a sensational second round 9-under par 63 to give him a good sized lead going into the final round of the Carolinas Golf Association Mid-Am Championship and as it turned out he needed just about all of it.
The West Columbia golfer had a five shot advantage over first round leader Harrison Rhoades from Raleigh and William Buchanan from Greensboro .
With low rounds being shot all week Jackson knew a five shot lead was good, but it might not be enough.
“I knew if I went out and shot even par it might not be good enough,” said Jackson. “There are so many good players here I figured someone would make it close,” he said.
Jackson didn’t get off to a great start in the final round, but his lead stayed solid at the turn..
“I knew what I had to do, but I had a little bit of a shaky start ,” said Jackson.
The 2022 SCGA Player of the Year finished his front nine at even par, good enough to maintain his five shot lead,
Jackson birdied two of his first four holes, but Buchanan picked up his pace and almost caught Jackson.
In the next six holes he went six under with four birdies and an eagle to cut Jackson’s lead down to just two shots.
The only thing to stop Buchanan’s hot streak was a bogey on the 16th hole.
Both golfers pared 17 and while Buchanan had a look at an eagle on the final hole, even if he had made it Jackson finished his day with a birdie and a two shot victory.
It was the first major individual championship for the former Presbyterian College golfer.
“I’ve won a bunch of four-balls with my buddy Zach (Herold), but nothing like this, this is pretty cool,” said the new CGA Mid-Am Champion.
Jackson won the SCGA Player of the Year honor without an individual win, but his consistency in everything he played added up to the annual honor.
Now with a win in a major championship, if he can keep his game at this level there might be more titles ahead for Jackson.
“I hope so. I know I have been working really hard, I’ve put myself in position in events like these for awhile now, but I’ve never been able to control the nerves that come with it and play really good golf on Sunday. So winning today is definitely special,” he said.
Jackson didn’t feel he played his best golf in the final round, but it was enough to secure his first major victory to go along with last year’s player of the year award.
“This is a big confidence booster, for sure. I play with the South Carolina guys all the time, but you add in the good players from North Carolina and the win is even better,” he said.
Just a few shots off the pace was former Clemson golfer Austin Langdale, who shot a final round 68 to finish at 12 under par in a tie for third,
The former All-ACC golfer is back playing regularly after a MS diagnosis cut short his hopes of playing professionally.
He has been getting a handle on the effects of his illness, but it has taken awhile. Now with a better understanding of what he can do, he is back playing.
“Its fun, the last couple of years have been difficult with my health and I didn’t play much,” he said.
As the 2013 champion of the Azalea Amateur, Langdale used his exemption to test his game earlier this spring.
“I put some solid stuff together, got the juices flowing again there and went to Greenwood and qualified on the number to play here., ” he said.
While his effort came up a little short he was pleased with his ability to be in contention, but still would have liked to see what his chances would have been at the next level.
“I didn’t have the time or the chance to really see what I could do. I never lost confidence in my ability. I still feel like I can play and its nice to put some numbers behind that to back up that feeling like I did this week,” concluded Langdale.
Scores from the CGA Mid-Am Championship at The Cliffs at Mountain Park https://43rdcgamidam.golfgenius.com/pages/3963907
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