71st Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship
The results from the final round of the 71st Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship at Florence Country Club in Florence, S.C. on July 30, 2020. (6,429 yards, par 34-36--70)
The CGA will be conducting this championship under the new COVID-19 Tournament Protocols. Learn more here.
Related: Championship Web Site | Scoring | History | Photos
William Jennings of Greenville, S.C. won the 71st Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship in dramatic fashion on Thursday. It took a back nine comeback and two playoff holes for Jennings to defeat Gene Zeigler of Florence, S.C. at Zeigler’s home course of Florence Country Club.
Both Jennings and Zeigler finished the 54-hole event at 8-under-par, 202 total, but it was Jennings who walked away a champion.
Jennings, who started the day four shots back of 32-hole leader and fourth place finisher Griffin Tarver, was 3-under-par through the first six holes, making consecutive birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
The 14-year-old was able to stick his tee shot on No. 4 close and make a five-footer for birdie on the par 3. After capitalizing on the short par-5, No. 5, he kept the momentum going by sinking a 30-footer for birdie on No. 6.
“After making that putt on No. 6, I felt confident and knew that I had a good chance to be in contention,” Jennings said.
Back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8 moved Jennings back to 5-under-par. Admittedly, the rising high school freshman was frustrated. Meanwhile, Zeigler was sitting pretty atop the leaderboard at 10-under-par overall and 3-under on the day as an eagle dropped on No. 6. Jennings knew that it was time to make a move, or else his championship chances would fade.
Jennings rebounded with a birdie on No. 9 to make the turn at 6-under-par and by the time he was through 16, his score had moved to 8-under.
“I went 4-under on the back nine yesterday, so I knew I could go low,” he said about his mindset entering the final stretch. “I had to do that, and it happened.”
With Jennings in at 8-under-par, Zeigler was still holding a lead out on the course. Through 16, the Florence, S.C. native was at 10-under-par after recovering from a pair of bogeys by making an eagle on No. 14. Bogeys on both Nos. 17 and 18 opened the door for Jennings though as the two would head to a playoff.
“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.”
Both Jennings and Zeigler played the first playoff hole to near perfection, making a pair of birdies on their second trip of the day through No. 18. The third time was the charm though for Jennings as he just missed a putt for eagle on the second playoff hole, once again played on No. 18, and defeated Zeigler’s par with a birdie.
“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,” Jennings said. “When my putt finally went in, I just felt relieved. Last week I lost by one stroke, so this win feels even better.”
The CGA would like to extend a thank you to the members and staff of Florence Country Club, specifically to General Manager Scott Simerlink, Head Golf Professional Steve Behr and Golf Course Superintendent Dru Clark, for their hospitality in hosting the 71st Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship. We would also like to thank the players and spectators for their understanding and adherence to the new COVID-19 tournament protocols.
71st Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship
Florence Country Club, Florence, S.C.
About the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA)
The CGA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization that was founded in 1909 to promote and to protect the game of golf in the Carolinas by providing competitions, education, support and benefits to golf clubs and golfers. The CGA is the second largest golf association in the country with over 700 member clubs represented by nearly 150,000 individuals.
The CGA annually conducts 48 championships and five team match competitions for men, women, juniors, and seniors. It also runs over 150 One-Day (net and gross) events as well as qualifying for USGA national championships. The CGA serves golf in the Carolinas with numerous programs such as: the USGA Handicap System; tournament management software and support; course measuring and course/slope ratings; agronomy consultation; answers about the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, and Handicapping; Carolinas Golf Magazine; Interclub series; Tarheel Youth Golf Association; Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame; expense assistance for USGA Junior and Girls' Junior qualifiers from the Carolinas; and the Carolinas Golf Foundation (CGF). The CGF has distributed nearly $2,000,000 since 1977 to benefit Carolinas' golf initiatives including junior and women's programs.
For more information about the CGA, visit our website.