Local golf notes: Hilton Head teacher joins U.S. squad

09/01/2013 1:29 AM

09/01/2013 1:31 AM

Todd White knows golf success, ranging from state and national titles, all-star college recognition at Furman and multiple South Carolina player of the year awards.

Now, he reaches the pinnacle this week — playing on the United States Walker Cup team.

And he can’t wait.

“I can’t imagine anything better than representing your country,” White, 46, said in looking toward competition against a team from Great Britain and Ireland on Saturday and Sunday in Southampton, N.Y.

“This is quite humbling.”

White, an instructor at Hilton Head High who this term is teaching government and economics, earned one of the two spots on the 10-payer team that the U.S. Golf Association reserved for mid-amateurs (older than 25). He burst onto the selection committee’s radar with a sterling 2012 season and feels he has played better this year.

“I’m excited, and this gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction,” said White, who made no secret of his ambition to make the squad. “Really, the only disappointment this year came from not making the U.S. Amateur.”

He lost in a playoff for the final U.S. Amateur qualifying spot at Columbia Country Club, but his overall performance — fifth and sixth in a pair of top amateur tourneys plus making the Western Amateur cut this year after a 2012 highlighted by reaching the semifinals in the U.S. Mid-Amateur — convinced the selection committee.

“The whole process of the mid-am inclusion has to do with leadership, character (and) celebrating the amateur game,” Don Burton, chairman of the USGA International Team Selection Committee, said.

Although he participated in an invitation-only, getting-to-know-you gathering for potential Walker Cup players last December, White had no advance information before receiving a call on Aug. 17.

“I could only play my best and hope (performances) were strong enough,” White said. “The first indication I had I was being considered was last December, then (the USGA) announced later that two mid-amateurs would be included. I knew that if I played well, I had a decent shot.”

He did play well, the call came — and he scrambled again. With school starting, he had lesson plans to prepare for substitute teachers to use for his classes during both the competition and a quick trip to New York for a practice session.

“Hectic, but it’s worth it,” he said. “I can’t imagine anything better. It’s a tremendous honor, but it’s not about me. It’s about our team.”

White is the eighth South Carolinian and the first non-collegian to make the U.S. Walker Cup team. The others: Jack Lewis (1969), Jonathan Byrd (1999), Lucas Glover and D.J. Trahan (2001), Bill Haas and Matt Hendrix (2003), and Dustin Johnson (2007).

Moving on up

Four state players — Ben Martin (Greenville/Clemson), Mark Anderson (Beaufort/USC), Kevin Kisner (Aiken/Georgia) and Matt Bettencourt (Duncan) — earned playing privileges on the 2014 PGA Tour with top 25 finishes in earnings on this year’s Web.com Tour.

Exact status will be determined by performances in the Web.com’s four final tournaments. Fifty playing cards — 25 for the Web.com qualifiers through earnings and 25 based on the four tournaments — will be awarded.

Justin Bolli (Simpsonville), who has conditional 2014 status on the PGA Tours, is seeking to improve his ranking in the Web.com’s four tournaments. Also in those events is D.J. Trahan (Mt. Pleasant/Clemson).

Chip shots

Jim Crow scored a double-eagle on Spring Valley’s 12th hole during an SCGA one-day senior tourney. ... Jensen Castle (West Columbia) won the girls’ 11-13 division in the SCJGA’s Tommy Cuthbert All-Starts competition. In the Thomas Todd All-Stars, Isabella Rawl (Lexington) earned the girls’ 8-10 title, and Gracyn Burgess (Leesville) led the girls’ 11-13 division. ... Courses from across the country are collecting donations over the Labor Day weekend to support the Folds of Honor Foundation that provides post-secondary educational scholarships for the children of military personal disabled in service.

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