Jacob Bridgeman, Emily Hawkins win Carolina Junior title
Emily Hawkins <br>(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)</br>
Emily Hawkins
(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)
BLYTHEWOOD, SC (July 28, 2016) -- Jacob Bridgeman of Inman, S.C. used four straight birdies to give himself a five shot lead entering Thursday’s final round at the Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship. He had the best seat in the house to watch fellow competitor pull of a similar feat. Zack Gordon of Gaffney, S.C. birdied four of his first six holes to get within one shot of Bridgeman. A birdie on No. 8 allowed Gordon to pull even with Bridgeman. “I was playing decent, just wasn’t making any putts. I was even through eight and Zack was five under. He came out hot and I knew I was going to have to play solid on the back.”

Bridgeman, who has had a fantastic summer since claiming the 3A high school state champion, used that experience to add another trophy to the collection. Bridgeman began to regain his lead with a birdie on No. 10. Gordon’s efforts to keep pace turned into a bit of a roller coaster. The rising junior made double bogeys on Nos. 10 and 12 but sandwiched those with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13. The birdie on No. 13 got Gordon back within three. Any hopes Gordon had of another comeback were dashed when Bridgeman hit the shot of the Championship.

The Clemson commit hit his tee shot on No. 14 to one foot. The 14th hole is a par-4. This spectacular shot surprised everyone, especially the group putting on the green. “I did not think I could get there, I was way short yesterday and today it was into the wind and I was hitting a cut. It hit on the fringe and rolled to a foot. I’ve had a hole-in-one before but I have never been that close on a par-4” Bridgeman said. The rising junior tapped in for eagle which gave him a comfortable lead but that did not stop him from further separating himself from the pack.

The Jimmy South champion birdied No. 16 to get to 10-under-par. Bridgeman knocked in a four footer on No. 18 to shoot a second consecutive four-under-par 68, 11-under-par 205 for the tournament which was more than enough to make him the 67th Carolinas Junior Boys’ Champion. “It feels good to win such a big event coming off of a couple of other big wins. This keeps me going and keeps my confidence high,” Bridgeman said after receiving his trophy.

Gordon’s eventful round ended at even-par which was enough to claim second place at two-under-par 214.


A playoff put an exclamation point on an exciting final round at the 60th Carolinas Junior Girls' Championship. Emily Hawkins of Lexington, N.C. survived a back-and-forth battle with Kathleen Sumner of Charleston, S.C. to complete the victory. The showdown between the two players included three lead changes while Sumner posted Thursday's low round, two-under 69, to catch Hawkins and force a playoff.

With the victory, Hawkins becomes just the third player in history to capture both the North Carolina Junior Girls' and Carolinas Junior Girls' titles in the same year. The previous players to do so are Adrienne Millican of Fuquay-Varina, N.C. in 2000 and Eleana Williams of Pinehurst, N.C. in 2006.

For the third consecutive day, the heat index in Thomasville, N.C. climbed over 100 degrees. The home- schooled rising junior Hawkins began with a two stroke lead over 17-year-old rising senior Sumner. However, Hawkins' poor tee shot on the par-4 7th led to double bogey. A Sumner birdie on No. 9 gave her the outright lead with nine holes to play. The championship became a two player race, as Riley Smyth of Cary, N.C. finished in third place, six shots back.

After a booming drive on the 444-yard par-5 10th, Sumner delivered a 9-iron from 135-yards within three feet. Looking like she would sink the putt and claim a two stroke advantage, Sumner's short putt lipped out. Hawkins drained a long birdie putt to remain tied. The 10th hole would start a four hole stretch of putting woes for Sumner, where she missed four putts within five feet. "I felt confident over my putts and thought I lined it up right, but it just wasn't working," said Sumner, who has committed to play golf at Florida State University.

The 14th hole at Colonial Country Club produced a two stroke swing. Hawkins rolled in a birdie from the back fringe while Sumner made bogey from the greenside bunker. On No. 15, Hawkins would give a shot back with a three-putt bogey.

On the par-3 17th, the championship looked in Hawkins' hands. She was safely on the green while Sumner was again in a greenside bunker. Walking up to her ball, Sumner motivated herself. " 'Kathleen you're going to run this up. You're going to close the clubface and run this up,' " Sumner recounted after the round. "It went in and I thought, 'Alright, this is destined.' " Her holed bunker shot again tied the two girls. The two players exchanged two-putt pars on 18 to finish the championship deadlocked at one-over 143. Sumner shot two-under 69 to catch Hawkins, who played the final round even par 71.

The playoff began on the 491-yard par-5 9th, where the edge appeared to belong to the long-hitting Sumner who had already birdied it once Thursday. However, adrenaline may have gotten the best of Sumner. Her third shot from 73-yards bounded over the green into a bunker. From there she played it back over the front of the green. Hawkins' two-putt par was enough to claim the championship. "I didn't expect to win, but it's very exciting," said the 15-year-old Hawkins. Next on her schedule is the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, August 1-7 at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa.

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