Originally created 04/22/01

South Aiken scores improbable victory



AIKEN - South Aiken's golf team did the unthinkable Saturday.

The Thoroughbreds went into the final round of the sixth annual Joe Wyatt Memorial Golf Tournament 17 shots behind leader Greenwood.

But the defendingchampions shot a final-round 297 to force a playoff against a stunned Greenwood team. Greenwood went from a 298 in the opening round to a 314 Saturday.

In the playoff, the teams played the par-4 18th hole, taking the top four scores from the five-man teams to decide the winner.

Emmett Turner, Enobong Udo, Chris Piontek and Corey Holliday parred the hole for Greenwood while Justin Hendrix, Dane Burkhart and Kevin Kisner did the same for South Aiken.

But in front of a packed gallery, South Aiken senior Alex Hamilton sank his only birdie putt of the weekend, a 5-footer, to give South Aiken the win.

"That was just a super comeback," South Aiken coach Donnie Holland said. "With so many people here, the kids probably felt like they were at the Augusta National. I didn't know if we could do it. I joked about it at dinner last night. I told the kids that we needed to play well and hope Greenwood slipped a little."

Greenwood was hot coming into the prestigious tournament that brings the top high school teams from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. They led from start to finish to capture both the T.L Hannah Invitational and the Vidalia Invitational in the last two weeks.

"We had been playing up until today," Greenwood coach Sparky Hudson said. "But credit South Aiken for not giving up. To come from 17 shots back is amazing. I'm still pleased. It's a good experience for us to be playing under the pressure of a big gallery."

The Thoroughbreds won the Trojan Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C., a week ago, but opened this tournament with a 315.

For South Aiken, Burkhart shot a 1-under-par 71 Saturday while Kisner shot a 72. Freshman Patrick Cunning had a 75.

Hamilton, the only senior for South Aiken, had struggled up until his birdie lifted the Thoroughbreds to victory. Holland's No. 1 man finished with a 14-over-par 158 for 36 holes.

"I told him just to forget about all of that right before the playoff started," Holland said. "We needed one hole from him. He's a big-time performer who had a couple of above-par rounds. It was gratifying to see him step up there and put it down."

North Augusta's Scott Brown shot 70-73-143 to win the medalist award by two shots over Greenwood's Turner.

Final team scores
x-won playoff on first hole of sudden death.

612-x-South Aiken (315-297) - Kevin Kisner 75-72-147, Dane Burkart 81-71-152, Patrick Cunning 80-75-155, Alex Hamilton 79-79-158; Greenwood (298-314) - Emmett Turner 72-73-145, Chris Piontek 72-80-152, Corey Holliday 75-82-157, Enobong Udo 79-81-160. 619-North Augusta (308-311) - Scott Brown 70-73-143, Darby Sligh 75-80-155, Wesley Carter 80-77-157, Nick Bradley 83-81-164.

Individuals

Scott Brown, North Augusta 70-73-143

Emmett Turner, Greenwood 72-73-145

Brian Duncan, Travelers Rest 75-71-146

Kevin Kisner, South Aiken 75-72-147

Tac Hargrove, Spartanburg 75-74-149

Nick Hughey, Gaffney 73-76-149

Lorraine Ballerano, Socastee 72-77-149

Kellen Altman, Carolina Forest 76-74-150

Banks Wood, Providence Day 81-70-151

Chris Piontek, Greenwood 72-80-152

Dane Burkhart, South Aiken 81-71-152