LOCAL GOLF NOTES

Bryan soars with low 59

bspear@thestate.comMarch 30, 2013 

How’s this for an understatement: George Bryan IV “had it going” the other day at Northwoods Golf Club.

A 13-under-par 59 fits the “had-it-going” definition, don’t you think?

“I didn’t think (59) would be possible, but I do now,” said Bryan, a former USC star and current mini-tour player. “It’s really neat.”

Bryan, whose name is one of the most prominent in the USC record book, worked his magic in one of Northwoods’ dogfights, tying the course record set by current PGA Tour pro Tommy Gainey. His round included 13 birdies — 10 in a row — and five pars.

“I came in the next morning, and Burke (assistant pro Burke Cromer) asked me if I had seen the scorecard on my desk,” Northwoods head pro Greg McBride said. “I wondered, ‘What is it?,’ took a look and thought, ‘Wow!’ ”

“Wow” is right.

Bryan figured his birdie streak might end at the par-4 10th, where he faced a putt from about 40-to-50 feet, but the ball found the hole.

“I had a couple (of birdie putts) in that range and another one about 20 feet, but everything else was close,” said Bryan, who is competing this weekend in Wilmington, N.C. “It was one of those days, but it really is tough no matter how easy it might look.”

He made two early birdies, then reeled off 10 in a row from the sixth through the 15th. He had a tap-in for 59 on the finishing hole.

“I have been 7-under after 13 holes before, but I got 9-under after 13 and I started thinking,” Bryan said. “The last five are pretty easy holes, then I birdied 14 and 15. That put me 12 under, and I needed one birdie on the last three. I was nervous on 18, and I’m glad the final putt wasn’t any longer.”

Bryan plays at Northwoods when his mini-tour schedule permits and says the competition he finds at the club sharpens his game. Obviously, a 59 provided confidence that he hopes carries over in tournaments.

He has made the cut in three of the first four tournaments on this year’s eGolf Professional Tour and notched one top-10 finish. He posted three top-10s and placed 29th in earnings a year ago.

“I will play this tour and look to Monday-qualify for some Web.com Tour tournaments,” Bryan said. “I’m working to get opportunities (to advance) with experience and confidence.”

Shooting 59 is a great way to boost confidence.

Lone Star addition

Jordan Spieth, the latest young-gun on the PGA Tour, will play in the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head on a sponsor’s exemption. The 19-year-old Texan became a special temporary member last week, which makes him eligible for an unlimited number of sponsor’s exemptions.

In his first four PGA Tour tournaments this year, he made three cuts, had two top-10s and earned more than $500,000. His professional success follows a glittering amateur career that included multiple U.S. Junior Amateur titles, an NCAA championship in his only season at the University of Texas and low amateur at the 2012 U.S. Open.

Daily tickets and weeklong badges for the April 15-21 tournament are on sale online at rbcheritage.com or by phone at (843) 671-2448.

Chip shots

Columbians Steve Patterson and John Obrien led sectional qualifying at the Members Club’s WildeWood Course for spots in the CGA’s Carolinas Mid-Amateur Championship. Battling wind and cold, the pair posted 77s to join seven other qualifiers in the Mid-Am next month in Raleigh. ... Matt Bova, assistant pro at Haig Point Club on Daufuskie Island, earned the Carolinas PGA Section’s qualifying spot in the RBC Heritage with a 73 at Berkeley Hall Club’s North Course. Cory Schneider of Powells Point, N.C., won the Carolinas PGA Head Professional championship on the same Bluffton course. ... The fourth annual Low Country Classic, which features high school teams from around the state, is set for Friday-Sunday at the Plantation Course at Edisto Beach. Midlands teams in the field include A.C. Flora and Lexington. Among the top individuals will be Pendleton’s Carson Young and Austin Langdale and Summerville’s Katelyn Dambaugh and Reona Hirai.

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