Since its establishment about 25 years ago, the South Carolina Junior Golf Association has flourished under the leadership first of Paul Rouillard and then of Chris Miller. The trend will continue under Justin Fleming.
“He has proved he is the guy for the job,” Miller said.
Indeed, in his 15 years with the SCJGA, Fleming has earned rave reviews for his work in youth development, redesigned the Summer Series program and helped produce a new system for player and tournament management.
“An exciting opportunity,” said Fleming, who was promoted to the senior director role the first of this month.
Fleming took the reins of a nationally acclaimed program and looks to continue its growth in his new position. His chance came after Miller, who will remain with the association, sought “to move at a slower pace.”
“Chris and I basically flip-flopped roles,” Fleming said. “I’m easing my way into the new responsibilities, and it’s good that Chris will be there if needed. I’ve never had everything on my shoulders.”
Golf has been his game since about age 12. A native of Abbeville, golf won out over baseball after a friend and uncle got him involved. He played in the SCJGA’s summer series and college golf at Southern Wesleyan University. He wanted to stay involved with golf and joined the SCJGA after graduation.
“Justin came to us highly recommended, and he has lived up to that,” Happ Lathrop, executive director of the South Carolina Golf Association, said, “He has been an integral part of our junior program, and he has earned this opportunity.
“We have been blessed in our junior program. We have had Paul and Chris and Justin, who understand how golf can help youngsters grow in life. We’re proud of what the program has done. Through the years, our junior program has impacted more than 50,000 young people.”
That’s the program Fleming will lead, and his first tournament at the helm is one of the SCJGA’s most prestigious – the Bobby Chapman Invitational at the Country Club of Spartanburg that ends today. And he has already discovered how his role has changed.
“I got my first call (about why one player had been chosen over another to participate in the invitational),” he said and laughed.
The combination of administrative duties and family responsibilities – he and wife Anna have three girls age 5 and younger – leave him little time to play the game he loves. But that’s fine, he said.
“This opportunity (to lead the SCJGA) is really exciting, one that I’m looking forward to,” Fleming said. “I want to help to continue growing the game and build on a program that has been so successful.”
Rick Cloninger (Fort Mill) tied for second in the CGA’s Carolinas Senior Amateur at Grandfather Mountain CC in Linville, N.C. The South Carolina trio of Walter Todd (Laurens), Eddie Hargett (Blythewood) and Kevin King (Bluffton) shared fifth. … Rob Butler (Camden) and Brian Quackenbush (Aiken) earned spots in the U.S. Mid-Amateur in qualifying at Camden CC. Butler captured medalist honors with a 2-under 68 and Quackenbush posted a 69. John Eades (Charlotte) and Matt Jackson (Waynesboro, Ga.) claimed the other two berths available for the October tournament at the Capital City Club in Atlanta. … In U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying at Snow Hill, N.C., Parker Dudley (Johns Island) advanced to Atlanta. … The 10th annual Israel Brooks Memorial tourney will be played on Oct. 9 at Newberry CC. Festivities include a gala on Oct. 7. Proceeds from previous tournaments have provided $49,000 in scholarships. For details and to register, go online to www.ibrooksgolfsc.com. … Winners in the SCGA’s 40-plus Series at Orangeburg CC include Michael Osborne (Bamberg, low gross), Tony Dominick (Irmo, low net), Gary Odom (Greenwood, senior low gross), Michael Wooles (Anderson) and Sammy Smith (Charleston, senior low net), Vince Williams (Columbia, super-senior low gross) and Phil Farley (Hanahan, super-senior low gross). … The Par-Tee Golf Center squad defeated a Salisbury, N.C. team 7.5-4.5 to advance for the regionals in the PGA of America’s Junior League competition. In the regionals for the fifth year in a row, Par-Tee will meet teams from Florida, North Carolina and Georgia next weekend at Kiawah Island Resort’s Cassique course with the winner advancing to the national finals.