Originally created 04/27/97

Thompson edges No. 3 Engler in Wyatt



AIKEN - Richmond Academy's John Engler said the gods of golf have a way of evening things out.

In a battle of two of the country's top 10 golfers, Easley's Kyle Thompson shot a two-day total of 145 to edge Engler by one shot, 146, for medalist honors in the second annual Joe Wyatt Memorial Invitational Tournament at Woodside Plantation.

West Florence, which finished next-to-last in the event last year, edged South Aiken by one shot, 613-614, for the team title.

Engler, teammate Brian Scurlock and South Aiken's Tom Wyatt all finished with an 146, but Engler defeated Scurlock on the second playoff hole with a par to take second place. Wyatt, who is headed to Furman, eliminated himself on the first playoff hole with a bogey.

Thompson, rated No. 9 in the country, tied Scurlock for the day's best score with an 2-under-par 70. Two weeks ago, Engler beat Scurlock in the Azalea Invitational in Charleston. Engler is rated No. 3 in the country among junior golfers.

Engler said his unfamiliarity with the back nine cost him the individual title. He shot a 34 on the front nine and a 41 on the back nine.

"Years ago, I used to come over here and play the back nine," Engler said. "But it's been a long time and I didn't know where I wanted to go. Kyle (Thompson) has played more over here then I have and he had the advantage. I looked like Stevie Wonder playing golf today."

The Richmond Academy senior and Clemson signee had five 3-putts on the day prompting him to say, "my putting killed me."

Thompson, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday, came into the day tied for 12th place after shooting an opening round 3-over-par 75. The South Carolina signee said he always plays his best golf on the final day.

"I was gunning to win the tournament," Thompson said. "I don't ever lay back. This is, I guess, one of my birthday presents."

South Aiken had a seven-shot lead over Spartanburg, 301-308, and eight shots lead over West Florence, 301-309, coming into Saturday's final round but could not hold on to win.

This marked the second consecutive year that South Aiken has finished second in the event. Last season, Richmond Academy defeated South Aiken in a playoff for the team title.

Three-time defending Class AAAA state champion Spartanburg finished in third place with a 615, two shots behind West Florence, and Richmond Academy finished fourth with a 620.

"We lost to a better team," South Aiken coach Donnie Holland said. "West Florence came back and shot better than we did. When you have an eight-shot lead on your home course, you are supposed to win."

Holland said he was proud of Tom Wyatt who played exceptionally well in the tournament that is named after his uncle.

Westminster's Charles Howell did not play in the tournament. Howell, the country's No. 1 prep golfer and Oklahoma State signee, went to see his golf coach, David Leadbetter, in Florida this weekend.

Joe Wyatt Memorial Tournament

Team Results:1. West Florence 613; 2. South Aiken 614; 3. Spartanburg 615; 4. Richmond Academy 620; 5. Easley 633; 6. Duluth 635; 7. Dorman 640; 8. Lakeside 641; 9. Hardaway 642; 10. Travelers Rest 644; 11. Charlotte Country Day 647; 12. Irmo 648; 13. Christ Church Episcopal 651; 13. Spring Valley 651; 13. Camden 651; 16. Aiken 653; 17. Midland Valley 656; 17. Northwestern 656; 17. Greenville 656; 20. Central Pageland 660; 21. North Augusta 661; 22. Aquinas 667; 22. Silver Bluff 667.

Individual Results:1. Kyle Thompson, Easley 145; 2. John Engler, Richmond Academy, 146; 3. Brian Scurlock, Richmond Academy, 146; 4. Tom Wyatt, South Aiken, 146; 5. Gregg Jones, West Florence, 148; 6. South Aiken's Matt Hendrix, 148;7. Austin Zeisler, Charlotte Country Day, 149; 8. Eric Ledford, Silver Bluff, 148. 9. Donovan Daniels, Aiken, 151; 10. Ben Duwes, Travelers Rest, 151.