S. Carolina Match Play: Riley Schank is medalist
Riley Schank during qualifying at South Carolina Match Play <br>(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)</br>
Riley Schank during qualifying at South Carolina Match Play
(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (June 16, 2016) -- The stroke play field of 61 players completed the final 18-holes of qualifying to determine the low 32 players for match play. Players again battled the heat - a high temperature of 97 degrees - and swirling winds at Bear Creek Golf Club on Thursday.

First round leader Riley Schank of Bluffton claimed medalist honors. “My plan was pretty much the same as yesterday, hit mostly the same clubs off of each tee,” Schank said. Schank stumbled out of the gate with two bogeys in his first four holes. “I did not putt quite as well as yesterday and made a few more mistakes.” The University of South Carolina Beaufort golfer found his rhythm with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 6 & 7. Schank made the turn one-over-par.

Finishing his second round at three-over 75 left Schank in a two-person playoff for medalist with Bryce Howell of Blythewood. Howell came into the second round one stroke behind Schank but used a two-over-par 74 to draw even after 36 holes.

The par-five 18th played host to the medalist playoff. Both players were forced to lay up short of the green after finding a bunker off the tee. From 108-yards, Schank hit his gap wedge to 10 feet. After Howell just missed his birdie putt, the door was open for Schank to win the playoff. Schank sunk his uphill putt to earn the #1 match play seed and medalist honors. “Now I just want to win my matches, one hole at a time. I only have to beat one guy at a time so that is the plan,” Schank explained.The cut line for the top 32 players qualifying for match play fell at 12-over-par 156. Josh Fickes of Beaufort edged Christian Sease of Mount Pleasant in a playoff for the final match play spot. Round of 32 matches will begin at 8:00am from both the 1st and 10th tee at Bear Creek Golf Club.

After three players broke par Wednesday, only two managed to play into red numbers on Thursday. Austin Zoller of Summerville played two-under-par to grab the #11 seed for match play. Rebounding from an opening round 83, Mount Pleasant's Benjamin Quinque posted 71 to get into match play with #23 seed.


Blue skies with temperatures in 90's greeted players Wednesday morning on the Bear Creek Golf Club par-72 layout.

First round leader Riley Schank, 19, of Bluffton has a one-stroke edge on the field competing for stroke play medalist honors. Schank, a rising junior at nearby University of South Carolina Beaufort, made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 18th to complete a blemish-free 3-under front nine. Holding a one-stroke lead entering the final 18 holes of stroke play qualifying does not change Schank's game plan.

"I am going to keep doing what I did today, make birdies and go low. I don't like to play safe and conservative," said Schank after making five birdies Wednesday en route to a 3-under-par 69.

Living just twenty minutes Bear Creek Golf Club, Schank enjoys golf on Hilton Head Island. "It's great to play all these different courses around the area. It's always fun to play tournaments in the summer to keep your game sharp."

Playing Bear Creek Golf Club for the first time Wednesday, 21-year-old Bryce Howell of Blythewood said it took time for him to adjust. He started his round with two bogeys. "I didn't get in the fairway on the first two holes," said the rising senior at Furman University. "I learned to be more conservative off the tee, hit a lot of hybrids."

Howell finished his round with a barrage of three birdies that began on the par-4 15th where he hit a cut 7-iron around trees from 180 yards to five feet. Finding the fairway by hitting hybrid off the tee on the short par-4 Nos. 16 and 17, Howell was able to hit his approaches to birdie range. "It was a good little stretch to right the ship a little bit," said Howell, who finished Wednesday at two-under 70. Howell has already found the winner's circle this year, claiming the South Carolina Golf Association Four-Ball Championship with Preston Cole in May. Howell finished with a 2-under 70.

The only other player to break par Wednesday, Timothy Carpenter, 21, of Aiken, mixed two birdies and a lone bogey for 1-under 71.

On Thursday, the field of 61 players will complete the final 18 holes of stroke play qualifying to determine the low 32 players for match play. The winner earns an exemption into the 102nd Carolinas Amateur Championship to be played July 14-17 at the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, S.C.

ABOUT THE South Carolina Amateur Match Play

Championship format is 36 holes of stroke play to determine 32 qualifiers for match play. The defending champion is seeded number one for match play if otherwise eligible.

Entry is open to any male amateur golfer who has reached his 13th birthday, is a legal resident of South Carolina, is a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA) and has an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at a CGA member club that does not exceed 7.4.

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