AIKEN — No matter the format or conditions, Patrick Cunning always seems to come up a winner in the City of Aiken Amateur Championship.
Cunning, 32, won the tournament for the fifth time in its eight-year history Sunday with a final round of even-par 70 at Aiken Golf Club.
The first round of the 36-hole event was played at Cedar Creek Golf Club for the first time this year. And conditions were different as wind gusts from the approaching hurricane sent scores soaring.
Neither bothered Cunning, a lefty who played at the University of South Carolina.
Trailing first-round leader Brian Quackenbush by one, Cunning struggled on the front nine at Aiken Golf Club. But he knew he would have chances on the incoming nine.
“I usually like the back nine because you’ve got a bunch of opportunities for birdies,” he said.
Cunning rattled off birdies at Nos. 10, 12 and 13 to hold off Chad Carter, who shot 1-over 71, by three shots. Quackenbush shot 78 and finished third.
“It was a grind today,” Cunning said. “I felt like even was a pretty good score after where I was on the front nine.”
Cunning won three of the first four City of Aiken Amateurs and now has won two in a row. Making his record even more impressive is the fact he didn’t play one year, so he has won five out of seven times he has teed it up in the event.
Carter, a senior at Fox Creek High School, shot 2-over on the first nine. He finished strong with two birdies and one bogey coming in.
“I got off to a slow start, so I needed to make a move on the back,” Carter said.
With his parents following the action coming in, Cunning played bogey-free golf on his final nine holes. Even though he doesn’t play much competitive golf now, he said the city championship is special to him.
“I always look forward to playing because I was born and raised here,” he said. “I always have this one marked on the calendar.”
Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337