AIKEN — After winning his second tournament in two weeks in Aiken County, Carson Young joked about making the area a new home.
“I guess I should come live here, right?” he said.
The Pendleton High senior posted a final-round, 2-under-par 69 to win the 39th annual Southern Cross Junior Invitational at Palmetto Golf Club by seven shots.
Young, who claimed the prestigious Junior Invitational at Sage Valley a week ago, opened the Southern Cross with 68 and finished with a 5-under-par 137 total. The future Clemson golfer is ranked No. 13 – first in South Carolina – in the Golfweek junior boys rankings.
South Aiken’s Alex Handy shot 75 and tied for second with Riverside’s Jonathan Hardee (73) and Greenville’s Keenan Huskey. Jake Smith, of Dorman, hit the shot of the day, recording a hole-in-one at No. 7, en route to 73 and a tie for sixth. First-round leader Bryce Howell, of Blythewood, followed his 67 with 80 to fall into a tie for eighth.
In the final round, Young rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 1 before hitting an 8-iron to 5 feet for birdie at the difficult par-4 third hole. Young recorded four birdies against two bogeys during the rain-soaked day.
“It was nothing special,” he said. “It was kind of a boring round.”
South Aiken found nothing boring about it. With a pair of 71s from seniors Hayden Ploeger and Ryan Carpenter, the Thoroughbreds shot 3-over-par 216 to win the team competition with a 439 total, 12 shots ahead of Pendelton (231 on Saturday). North Augusta (251) finished at 484, while Aiken (245) finished at 494.
The victory was vindication for South Aiken after the team lost by one to Pendleton in last year’s event.
“This means a lot to me, this means a lot to the team,” Carpenter said. “Them beating us by one last year hurt a lot.”
Carpenter said with South Aiken’s third victory this season, his team has plenty of momentum entering Monday’s Class AAAA Lower State Championship in Sumter, S.C.
As for Young, he said practice is starting to pay off. The 18-year-old is looking to carry over his hot stretch into the coming months before he attends Clemson in the fall.
“This,” he said, “gives me confidence going into the summer.”