Todd White makes no secret of his summer goal — earn a place on the United States Walker Cup team — and the quest has begun.
After tournaments in Aiken, Pennsylvania and the Northeast Amateur in Rhode Island that ended Saturday, his schedule includes the Players Amateur, U.S. Amateur qualifying and, hopefully the main event, plus a four-ball competition with Kevin King at Baltusrol, the Porter Cup and the Western Amateur.
“A little busy,” he said with a laugh, “but (playing those events) is what it takes.”
White, a history instructor at Hilton Head High, bolted onto the USGA selection committee’s radar with a sterling 2012, and a tie for sixth in the Jones Cup early this year enhanced his chances. At 45, he strives to earn one of the two slots reserved for mid-amateurs on the 10-player team that faces Great Britain and Ireland in September.
“I can’t look too far ahead,” he said. “My goal is to play my best in every event and see what happens. I haven’t been terrible recently, but I haven’t scored that well, either. All I can ask for is the opportunity.”
White, a three-sport star at Spartanburg’s Dorman High and an All-America golfer at Furman, turned pro in 1990. But he failed to reach golf’s big time and regained his amateur status. He taught at Dorman High and worked on the school’s football coaching staff for 12 years before moving to Hilton Head.
“In the pros, I never had any status on (major) tours,” he said. “I got into some events and tried to catch lightning in a bottle, but that didn’t happen.”
He relishes competition and concedes nothing to the younger players who generally dominate the amateur ranks. To meet the challenge, he strives to maintain his edge by working on his game or his conditioning every day.
After missing most of 2011 with a wrist injury, he sparkled last year en route to winning the South Carolina Golf Association’s player of the year for the third time. He qualified for match play in the U.S. Mid-Amateur and the U.S. Amateur, reaching the round of 32 in the former and the semifinals in the latter.
Then, in October, he received a coveted invitation. The USGA made him one of 16 invitees, and one of two mid-amateurs, to a get-to-know-you gathering in December for potential Walker Cup players.
Now, he is focusing on the tournaments at hand and not the Walker Cup matches.
“The only thing I can control is to play well and that’s my mindset,” White said. “I haven’t heard anything (from the USGA committee), but I know they’re watching results.”
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Dawn Woodward (Greer) won her fourth straight WSCGA match-play title, defeating Lea Venable (Simpsonville) 2-up in the final.