GREENSBORO, N.C. — The best amateur golfers in the Carolinas put on a show at Greensboro Country Club's Farm Course Sunday. In the final round, the top six finishers shot a combined 36-under-par, while making only three bogeys.
The star of the show: 19-year-old Carter Jenkins of Raleigh, NC. The two-time defending Carolinas Amateur champion started Sunday with a two stroke deficit to overcome. Showing his seven-time CGA champion skill, he shot a course record-tying 8-under 64 to win by three over David Kocher of Charlotte, N.C. and Davis Womble of High Point, N.C. With the repeat victory, Jenkins joins F.M. Laxton (1921-'23) of Charlotte, N.C. as the only golfers to win the Carolinas Amateur title three consecutive years.
Jenkins birdied both par-5s on the front nine (No. 2 & 7), then hit a 7 iron to one foot from the cup on the 208 yard, downhill par-3 8th for a tap-in birdie. "I played really well on the front side, even though I only got three under out of it," said Jenkins.
He wasn't the only golfer playing well Sunday morning. Both Kocher and Womble made four birdies with no bogeys on their opening nine holes. Local Stanhope Johnson Jr. of Greensboro, N.C. played his outward nine in 3-under-par. 17-year-old Raleigh native Doc Redman made the turn at 2-under and third round leader Henry Shimp of Charlotte, N.C., was 1-under.
The result, with nine holes to play, five golfers shared the lead at 15-under-par. "I saw that it was tight at the turn," recalled Jenkins, a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill. "I was a little nervous."
Nerves turned into adrenaline. Jenkins pounded his drive on the 604 yard par-5 10th and reached the green in two for an easy birdie. He would then birdie four of his next five holes, climbing to 20-under-par and his ultimate three shot victory. His four-day total of 268 set a Carolinas Amateur scoring record since the championship changed from match play to stroke play in 2010.
Kocher, a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland and Womble, a rising senior at Wake Forest University, gave Jenkins the most chase. Neither had a blemish on their final round scorecard on their way to 17-under second place finishes.
Stephen Franken of Raleigh, N.C., an incoming freshman at NC State University, matched Jenkins' round of the day with his own 64 to place 15th. Two-time Carolinas Amateur champion Paul Simson, also of Raleigh, shot a final round 5-under 67 to finish 12th overall.
In the end, Jenkins' game rose to the importance of the moment. On Sunday he hit 10 of 13 fairways, 16 of 18 greens and 30 putts on his way to hoisting the Richard S. Tufts trophy. In his two previous Carolinas Amateur victories, Jenkins also mounted a final round comeback.
"This one definitely means more than the first two did," said Jenkins. "It's pretty cool and very rewarding."
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