|Updated Jul 19, 2000||[an error occurred while processing this directive]|
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GOLF BAG: McWilliams Claims Carolina Amateur
BY HOWARD WARD
It was Matt McWilliams’ tournament all the way.
Even after experiencing some swing problems. Even after a self-effacing mental error where he accused himself of going “brain-dead.” Even after having to be cajoled into playing by his father.
McWilliams, a 21-year-old Southern Pines resident and a rising senior at Middle Tennessee State, won the 86th Carolinas Amateur at Wachesaw Plantation in Murrells Inlet, S.C., over the weekend, dominating the event from start to finish.
McWilliams began his run to the title leading the stroke-play qualifying with 8-under-par 69-67—136, two shots better than Matthew Hendrix of Aiken, S.C.
It was all McWilliams in Sunday’s 36-hole match play finals as he pummeled Josh Goldstein of Wilmington 5 and 4.
McWilliams took the lead on the par-5 4th hole when Goldstein pulled his second shot into a water hazard left of the green. He took a 2-up lead on the 6th when Goldstein made bogey.
Goldstein trimmed the lead to one when McWilliams suffered his “swing problem” and put his tee shot on the par-3 in the water. McWilliams went back to 2-up with birdie on the 8th hole, only to see Goldstein make birdie on the 11th. But McWilliams won 13, 14 and 16 to go to 4 up.
“I played aggressive and had the pulls all morning,” McWilliams said. “But I knew how to fix it and didn’t really worry about it. I remembered my dad’s famous line — it’s a club face error.”
With his swing fixed, McWilliams still had some anxious moments in the afternoon round. Goldstein won the 19th hole and McWilliams then had his mental “brownout.” He lifted his ball on the green without marking it, resulting in a penalty stroke and loss of the hole.
“I went totally brain-dead,” McWilliams said. “I felt nauseous when I realized what I had done. I thought that I had put my ball mark down, but I went to swat a fly away and then just picked up the ball. I lost the hole for a non-golf-related error. I just tried to forget about it.”
His memory was short enough that he made eagle on the 22nd hole by sinking a 15-foot putt and was on track again. “The eagle was the turning point,” he said. I felt the momentum coming back to me.”
Goldstein hurt his cause by hitting his tee shot out of bounds on the 24th, and, after the two had exchanged wins, McWilliams closed out the match with a conceded par on the 32nd hole.
“Matt played well,” Goldstein said. “I got down early and sneaked back a little bit, but I gave away some holes, and Matt did, too.”
McWilliams almost didn’t enter the championship. “I almost didn’t come down here,” he said. “My dad (Kevin McWilliams, Director of Golf at Knollwood Fairways) gave me an ultimatum to come play. I was in Pinehurst at 5 p.m. on Tuesday night, then I took my dad’s credit card and headed down here. I told him I was going to play well.”
He did that, trailing for a total of only two holes in the entire tournament. He was 1 down to David Strawn ofCharlotte in his second-round match but quickly regained the lead and never trailed again. He defeated Robert Godfrey of Central, S.C., 2 and 1; Strawn, 3 and 2; Preston Edmondson of Morrisville, 4 and 3; and Mitch Adams of Cary, 5 and 4.
Matthew Kohut of Aberdeen qualified at 144, but lost 2 and 1 to Strawn in the first round of match play.
Adrienne Millican of Fuquay-Varina won the Women’s Carolinas Golf Association’s Junior Girls Championship Flight at the Country Club of North Carolina with a 5 and 4 victory over Sarah Davis of Raleigh.
The match was square through seven holes, but Millican won 8 and 9 and Davis was never able to close the gap.
Josie Shinn of Pinehurst won the second flight, defeating Paige Haverty of Greenville 2 and 1. Shinn reached the finals with a 9 and 8 win over Nancy Mountcastle of Durham.
Amanda Mathews of Southern Pines was ousted from the second flight in the first round of match play with an 8 and 7 loss to Suzanne Campbell of Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Margaret Lawrence of Southern Pines was defeated 1-up by Katie Graham of Rock Hill, S.C., in the third flight, and Megan Leine-weber of Southern Pines lost 3 and 2 to Lucie Crane of Jamestown in the Sub Juniors.
Mid Pines Junior
Bryan Overby of Smithfield won the Boys 15-18 Division of the 17th annual Mid Pines Junior Invitational held at Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club July1-2.
Overby shot 74-69—143 to beat out Garrett Pike of Sterling Va., and Tripp Reynolds of Shelby by a shot.
Mark Powers of Fayetteville was at 151. Perry Seifert of Southern Pines shot 177, and John Justice of Pinehurst was at 179.
John Evert of Charlotte shot 72-76 to win the Boys 13-14 Division in a playoff over Zack Byrd of Calabash after they had tied at 148. Steven Bain of Lake Mary, Fla., and Garrett Dysart of Raleigh tied for third at 150. Miller Blair of Southern Pines shot 171.
Kevin O’Connell of Raleigh shot 69-71—140 to take a four-shot win over Tal Everett of Sea Island, Ga., in the Boys 11-12 Division. Daniel Sellers of Orlando, Fla., was third at 146.
William Ovenden of Columbia, S.C., shot 36-30—66 to win the Boys 10 and under Division by 14 shots. Brinson Paolini of Boise, Idaho, was second with 80. Brant Delongy shot 85 for third. Jordan Fruchte of Southern Pines was eighth with 118.
Adrienne Millican used the event as a tune-up for her WCGA win, cruising to a four-shot win over Eric Wein of Morrisville with 70-68—138 in the Girls 11-18 Division. Erica Battle of Columbia, S.C., was third with 144, and Lauren Robinson of Fayetteville was at 145.
Courtney Pomeranz of Sanford posted 147 to tie for 5th.