Columbia golfers young and old triumph at tourneys

08/04/2013 12:14 AM

08/04/2013 12:15 AM

These scores from opposite ends of the age spectrum — Buck Leigh’s 70 in the Midlands Chevy Dealers Columbia City Championship and Jack Parrott’s 62 in the Fort Jackson Golf Club’s Junior Championship — shout for attention.

Leigh, 72, beat his age in winning the city tourney’s super-senior division, and matched it in another round at Spring Valley Country Club. Parrott, 14, reeled off 10 birdies in a bogey-free gem over Fort Jackson’s Wildcat Course.

“It’s one thing to shoot a great score in a recreational round,” Bobby Foster, city tourney director and a member of the state golf hall of fame, said. “It’s something else to shoot a great score under the pressure of tournament competition.”

Shooting his age is nothing new for Leigh, whose credentials include winning both the State Amateur and the State Seniors title. He accomplishes that regularly at Columbia Country Club.

“After I won the super seniors last year, I told our oldest daughter about it and she asked how old you had to be to play super seniors,” Leigh said. “I told her at least 65, and she told me, ‘Dad, you won the Old Geezers division.’ ”

Leigh laughs, readily accepts the “old geezer” label and attributes part of his success to physical conditioning. Unless required by tournament rules, he always walks.

Leigh, who grew up in Hamlet, N.C., moved to Columbia in 1976 and took to heart advice he received from the late Charlie Prentice, Columbia Country Club’s legendary pro, on how to improve.

“He told me to get better that I had to play for more money than I could afford to lose or to play in tournaments,” Leigh said.

Parrott, who will be in the ninth grade at Heathwood Hall this year, forged his round over the Wildcat course that played at 5,972 yards. He birdied the first hole, then reeled of birdies on Nos. 3-5.

“I struck it well and putted really great,” he said. “After those birdies on three, four and five, I knew I had something going and thought, ‘I can really go low today.’”

Parrott, who has worked first with George Bryan and now with Fred Wadsworth, got hooked on the game early after following his dad on rounds at Northwoods. His 62 suggests the state’s pipeline of junior golfers remains well stocked.

Florida next for all-stars

The Columbia PGA Junior League All-Stars captured the state championship at Fort Jackson Golf Club, defeating Hilton Head-Savannah in the semifinals 11-1 and Myrtle Beach 7½-4½ in the title match.

The Columbia team will represent the state in the regional Aug. 17-18 in St. Augustine, Fla. The squad includes players from clubs throughout the area: Dillon Hite, Bronson Myers, and Logan Biggers (Par Tee Golf Center), Alec Vardas, Sully Hooper and Isabella Rawl (Country Club of Lexington), Parks Hutto and Matthew Hutto (Northwoods Golf Club) and Ford Reynolds and Wyatt Pierce (Forest Lake Club).

Chip shots

Clem King (Country Club of Lexington) and Mike Lawrence (Anderson) tied for fourth in the Carolinas PGA Section’s Senior Championship at Pine Island Club in Charlotte. ... Reona Hirai (Summerville) finished second and Sydney Legacy (Lexington) third in the CGA’s Twin States Junior Girls tourney in Morganton, N.C. ... Thomas Bradshaw (Columbia/Clemson) finished first alternate in U.S. Amateur qualifying in Rocky Mount, N.C. ... Winners in the Golfweek Amateur Golf Tour tourney at the Woodlands: Ishaan Vasudeva (championship flight), Troy Rauch (A flight), Jim Gay (B flight), Bobby Hagen (C flight) and Brad Leak (D flight). Players are placed in flights according to handicap indexes. For information and schedules,. Call John Livoti at (866) 918-4653. ... The Georgia squad defeated the South Carolina juniors 11½-4½ in the annual team matches at Forest Lake Club. ... Josh Fickes (Beaufort) and Trevor Phillips (Inman) tied for third in the CGA’s Carolinas Junior tourney in High Point, N.C.

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