Myles Creighton (left) and his caddie Mark Johnston hoist the Rice Planters trophy
MT. PLEASANT, South Carolina (June 24, 2017) -- Growing up in a small lobster fishing community in Nova Scotia isn't exactly conducive to developing a golf game. There are some amazing courses in the province, and like Minnesota and other colder states in the U.S., Canadians take full advantage of the six month golf season.
So Myles Creighton took his love of the game in Nova Scotia to Radford University in Virginia, where he earned a spot on the golf team.
Today, he is the Rice Planters Amateur Champion.
"I've won a few times in college," said Creighton in a phone interview. "But this is my biggest for sure. Just looking at Brooks Koepka's name on the trophy from seven years ago and all of the other names -- it's cool to be a part of that history."
Indeed, Koepka counts the Rice Planters as his only win in a five year amateur career. There is something that separates a "W" from a top-5 or top-10, and we're just guessing he still has his trophy. Maybe it's sitting next to the one he picked up last week at the U.S. Open.
Creighton's road to the top today wasn't an easy one. After the first round was washed out, he struggled with his ball striking in the first two rounds but said he made everything on the greens.
"The greens are about a year old," explained Creighton. "Most of the guys were struggling to figure out the breaks and I figured out that you have to play less break."
Putting can save a player from shooting 4-over on an average ball striking round, whether pro or amateur. And that's exactly what it did for Creighton, keeping him hanging around the lead after rounds of 71 and 72 left him 1-under for the tournament.
He played the final round five groups behind the leaders, but that was just fine with the Canadian, fast losing any touch of a Canadian accent in favor of a Virginia one.
"I'm kind of a leaderboad watcher," said Creighton. "I like to know where I stand. Today I was hitting the ball much better and had my friend on the bag to help me out."
Standing about 240 yards from the green on the par-5 16th, Creighton was 2-under on the tournament after back-to-back bogeys. It was time to make something happen, and the duo (his friend a tournament player who missed the cut) calculated the yardage.
Creighton's ball just cleared the bunker in front of the green and nestled to two-feet for eagle. At 4-under par, he holed a solid 15-foot putt for bogey on the 230-yard par 3 17th, then closed with a par to post 70 on the day and tie Michael Sass at 3-under 213.
Sass, of the University of Charleston, made a big move on the back nine on Saturday, going birdie-eagle on Nos. 12 and 13, a short par-4 and reachable par-5.
In the playoff, the players headed for No. 18 where both hit the green, but Creighton had the clear advantage at just 12-feet straight uphill for birdie. When Sass rolled his putt to 8-feet, with a tricky downhiller remaining, Creighton was able to two-putt and wait to see what happens.
"I tried to make that putt," said Creighton. "i just pulled it a bit."
When Sass missed, the title, and a bit of South Carolina tournament history, went to Creighton.
Two players posted their best rounds of the tournament to finish T3 a shot back. Jamie Wilson of the University of South Carolina shot the low round of the day at 67 for a total of 2-under 214; Jack Comstock of the University of North Florida posted 68 for the same total.
Two other players at 214 included first round leader Brock Ochsenreiter (his 66 in round one was the lowest of the tournament) and Wes Artec of Texas Tech.
ABOUT THE Rice Planters Amateur
The Rice Planters Amateur was the inspiration of
amateur golfer, Dick Horne. During his first Porter
at the Niagara Falls Country Club in 1973, Horne
befriended the tournament's chairman Dick Harvey.
Harvey encouraged a receptive Horne to develop his
own southern tournament and, consequently, along
with other Porter Cup officials, shared enough useful
information to get Horne started in the South. The
Rice Planters quickly grew to become one of the top
amateur events in the country.
FORMAT AND ENTRY
Like the Porter Cup, the Rice Planters is played over
72 holes of stroke play. While
by invitation only, the tournament typically
holds a 90-player qualifier for the final five spots in
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