William Jennings (Carolinas Golf Association)
Having a flair for the dramatic, 14-year-old William Jennings (Greenville, South Carolina) needed a comeback and two playoff holes to claim the 2020 Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship.
Four shots back of 36-hole leader Griffin Tarver (Tega Cay, South Carolina), Jennings caught fire early, making birdies on holes 4, 5, and 6. Falling back to 1-under on the day following bogeys on holes 7 and 8, Jennings capped off the front side with a birdie on No. 9.
Despite the small stumble, Jennings felt confident.
“After making that putt on No. 6, I felt confident and knew that I had a good chance to be in contention,” Jennings told the Carolinas Golf Association.
6-under for the tournament through nine, Jennings knew he had to make something happen as the leaders were a group behind him. In that last group was then-leader Gene Zeigler (Florence, South Carolina). At 10-under as Jennings made the turn, Zeigler was the rabbit that needed to be chased down.
“I went 4-under on the back nine [Wednesday], so I knew I could go low,” Jennings said. “I had to do that, and it happened.”
Posting a 2-under back nine, Jennings headed into the clubhouse at 8-under, needing a bit of help from Zeigler in the form of at least a couple of bogeys. Zeigler obliged with bogeys on 16 and 18 to set up a playoff with Jennings.
“It was nerve-wracking standing and watching Gene finish,” Jennings said. “I honestly thought I had lost, but he gave me an opening so I took it.”
The duo both birdied the par-5 18th on the first playoff hole. Playing the closing hole for a third time that day, Jennings found that the third time is the charm. Sliding an eagle putt by, his birdie bested Zeigler’s par for the win.
“I was worried that Gene was going to chip it in for birdie, but after the chip, I knew that I could two-putt for birdie and win,” said Jennings. “When my putt finally went in, I just felt relieved. Last week I lost by one stroke, so this win feels even better.”
Rounding out the top-5 were Max Green (Hilton Head Island, South Carolina) at 6-under (204), Griffin Tarver (205), and Tyler DeChellis (Clayton, North Carolina) who finished at 4-under (206).
View results for Carolinas Junior Boys
ABOUT THE Carolinas Junior Boys
- 54-hole stroke play tournament
- Field will be reduced to the low 70 and ties after 36
- Boys compete in one division; there are no age
- Open to boys from NC and SC ages 12-18 and under
who have a USGA Handicap Index of 18.3 or lower
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