“The beauty of the first time is that it leads to a thousand others,” an author named Pico Iyer once wrote, and Sydney Legacy hopes those words prove prophetic in her golf career.
Legacy, a familiar figure in Palmetto State golf, notched her first professional tournament victory in this month’s South Carolina Women’s Open and called the triumph at Seabrook Island Club “something special.”
“Winning is a big step forward,” said Legacy, a member of Lexington High’s girls’ golf dynasty and a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference player at Clemson. “What made winning better is, I was comfortable on the golf course, it came in a tournament I like and I was home.”
Her opening 5-over-par 77 does not look the stuff of a champion, but the score is a bit misleading. “I played a decent round; I just mess up one hole,” she said, noting an “8” on No. 16.
She played lights out the remainder of the 54-hole event, the crown jewel on the Women’s South Carolina Golf Association’s schedule. She fired a second-round 65 and coasted home with a 70 for 4-under 212 — six shots clear of her closest challengers.
Legacy left Seabrook with confidence for a 15th club, and said, “I feel like winning will make me a better player.”
A late-comer to the game who did not take up golf until age 14, she did her share of winning on the junior level and her scores improved each season at Clemson. Now, she is a rookie on the Symetra Tour, which can be a stepping stone to LPGA competition or the end of professional golf dreams.
Her post-South Carolina Women’s Open victory found her in Battle Creek, Michigan one week, practicing at various Midwest courses in an off week, then on to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Garden City, Kansas before the schedule returned to the Southeast.
“Since I’m a rookie, this year has been a learning experience,” Legacy said. “I had to learn new courses, about travel and such. In college, the team was always together with coaches to take care of (logistics). Being on your own can be overwhelming at first, but I have made new friends and figured out what works.”
She missed the cut in her first five Symetra tournaments with scores most un-Legacy like. She earned her first Symetra check at Nancy Lopez’s tourney in May and made a payday in four of her last seven starts. A final 66 propelled to her to her best Symetra finish, a tie for 10th in Rochester, New York. Conversely, a final 77 sent her plunging to T59 in Battle Creek.
“There are no easy (professional) tournaments, and you have to keep improving” to advance, she said. “This has been a year to learn, and I see myself continuing to get better with more experience.”
Besides, the confidence gained from her victory in the South Carolina Women’s Open is a commodity that must be earned. She did that, and she hopes that Iyer’s words come true, that the first one leads to a thousand others.
Chip shots. In addition to Legacy’s overall victory, division winners in the South Carolina Women’s Open included Angela Aung (open amateur), Rosie Jones (senior professional) and Natalie Huff (senior amateur). ... Former Winthrop teammates Jordan Sease (Lexington) and Brandon Truesdale (Rock Hill) shot 8-under-par 64 to win the rain-shortened SCGA Mid-Amateur Four-Ball title at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach. ... Matthew Hutto (Blythewood) and Logan Hawkins (Williamston) earned spots in South Carolina’s 2020 Watson Cup team with triumphs in the SCJGA All-Star matches. Hutto won the Tommy Cuthbert (lower state) competition at Seabrook Island, and Hawkins led the Thomas D. Todd (upper state) tourney at the Patriot at Grand Harbor in Ninety Six. ... The Midlands Golf Course Owners Association is offering its Platinum and Gold books, which include play at many area courses at special rates, in a Summer Sizzling sale. Buy the Platinum book for $40 and also receive the Gold, a $30 value. Go online to www.scmidlandsgolf.org for details.