local golf notes

Harwood off to Junior World

bspear@thestate.comJuly 6, 2014 

William Harwood sets forth Saturday on another great adventure in golf, heading to San Diego to compete in the Callaway Junior World Championships, an international event that draws more the 1,200 competitors from 56 nations.

Excited? You bet.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “Playing in a tournament like this is something I will always remember.”

In San Diego, his 15-17 age group will compete July 15-18 over the famed Torrey Pines South course, and the list of champions includes a who’s who in Golf. Tiger Woods and Lorena Ochoa won multiple times, and Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, Ernie Els, Amy Alcott and David Toms are familiar names among winners.

Harwood, who has attended Hammond School and will be a junior at Ben Lippen this fall, qualified for the Junior Worlds by winning the National Junior Golf Tour tourney In Lake Lure, N.C., a triumph he calls “the highlight of my life in golf so far.”

Golf always has been part of his life. The family home is adjacent to the Spring Valley Country Club course and, he said, “I’ve been playing every since I could pick up a club.”

He also played competitive tennis before focusing on golf and said, “Golf is like no other sport. It’s all about you and how you play. You can’t alter how your opponent plays.”

Harwood works with pro Fred Wadsworth, a former USC star and a winner on the PGA Tour, and said, “Without him, I would be nowhere near where I am in golf.”

Wadsworth emphasized the importance of the short game, and Harwood calls that the strength of his game.

Like all youngsters at his stage in development, he would like to succeed on the professional level. But he keeps expectations in perspective.

“Pro golf is my goal, but if that doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “The lessons you learn in golf play a large role in your life. You learn about ups and down and you learn that you don’t always win.”

The venture will be a return trip to San Diego, although he doesn’t recall the specifics.

“I guess I was about seven and my parents (Bill and Karen) took me para-gliding over the (Pacific) coast and Torrey Pines,” he said.

Nine years later, he will get to see the golf course from a different angle.

Chip shotsWillliam Hinson won his second professional long-drive tournament in the Tennessee Shootout, the day before he graduated from Blythewood. He defeated perennial long-drive star Landon Gentry by 14 yards. ...

Lauren Stephenson (Lexington) advanced to the U.S. Women’s Amateur in qualifying in Lexington, N.C. Mary Chandler Bryan (Chapin) is the section’s second alternate. ...

In qualifying for the State Amateur, Josh O’Neal (Simpsonville) topped the field at Three Pines CC in Woodruff, and Cameron Mackay led at Coosaw Creek CC in North Charleston. ...

Logan Sowell (Kershaw) earned a spot in the U.S. Junior Amateur in qualifying in Cary, N.C. ...

Julian Keur (Summerville) won the boys’ division and Victoria Huskey took the girls’ title in the Carolinas Junior PGA Championship in Conway to qualify for the national Junior PGA in College Station, Texas. ...

The Heritage Classic Foundation’s Birdies for Charity program has presented checks totaling $544,475 to 67 South Carolina charities. Funds are raised through pledges for each birdie recorded in the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage. ...

The Players Amateur, one of the top events on the summer amateur circuit, will be played this week at Berkeley Hall GC in Bluffton with a berth in the 2015 RBC Heritage going to the champion. The powerhouse field includes Oliver Schniederjans (Georgia Tech) and Robby Shelton (Alabama), ranked 1-2 in the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings. USC’s Will Murphy, who has won the Azalea and Sunnehanna tourneys this year, heads the state college contingent, and Todd White, a 2013 Walker Cup player from Hilton Head, is also in the field.

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