Women’s SCGA focuses on progress, growth

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The Women’s South Carolina Golf Association season is winding down, and executive director Clarissa Childs loves the progress the organization has made in her second full year at the helm.

“There’re lots of good things going on,” Childs said, noting the number of players overall is growing and the quality of golf in the junior ranks continues to increase.

“We want to get more women of all ages and skill levels involved, and that’s happening,” she said. “With more opportunities to play, we want to raise the profile of the women’s game.

“The state has a lot of good, young players who could take their games to the next level. We had the Junior Golf Foundation High School Invitational (at Woodside Plantation in Aiken) last weekend, and the play was impressive.”

Childs knows about “impressive.” She twice won all-SEC honors in her playing days at South Carolina (1992-96), competed seven years on the LPGA Tour, assisted former coach Kristi Coggins with the USC women’s team and coached the Newberry College women’s squad for five years.

The organization added the South Carolina Women’s Open to its schedule in 2018, and the second edition of the championship again earned rave reviews. Former Lexington High star Sydney Legacy, now on the Symetra Tour, earned the title in a sudden-death playoff.

“The tournament will continue to grow,” Childs predicted and said the event might move from its mid-August dates to avoid conflict with Florida Women’s Open. “That would give us more quality players.

“We’re working on our 2020 schedule and some other things, too. For one, we’re planning to have our website upgraded by Nov. 1 and that will allow players to communicate easily with each other.”

Anything else?

“We have some ideas,” she said. “The main thing is, we want to find ways to keep women involved in golf throughout their lives, and we will.”

Gamecocks win tournament

USC women’s golf coach Kalen Anderson talked about the need for patience while what she called “her most talented team” developed. The process took a giant step forward in the season’s second tournament last week.

Led by touted freshman Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, the Gamecocks outdueled a strong field that included five top-10 teams to win the Windy City Collegiate Classic at Glen View GC near Chicago.

The players “were awesome,” Anderson said. “... it takes a whole group to win it all and beat a lot of good teams.”

Roussin-Bouchard won the individual title with 11-under-par 205. Seniors Ana Pelaez and Lois Kaye Go shared 11th at 215 and sophomore Emily Price tied for 19th at 217. Go, an All-American last season, played in her first tourney since suffering a shoulder injury in June.

Golf and a donation

The team of SCGA administrators — Kyle Malone, Joe Quick, Justin Fleming and Kirk Page — raised more than $8,000 for the Youth on Course program in the organization’s “Hundred Hole Hike” at the Plantation Course at Edisto Beach.

“They made it,” SCGA executive director Biff Lathrop said of the group’s playing 100 holes in one day. “They went through at least three shirts each and fought cramps, but they finished in less than 12 hours on a hot, sultry day.”

Youth on Course allows youngsters to play at participating courses for $5 a round.

Chip shots

Sophomore Ryan Hall won the individual title in leading the USC men’s team to second place in the J.T. Poston Invitational in Sapphire, North Carolina. Caleb Proveaux (T2), Jamie Wilson (T4) and Jack Wall (T7) earned top-10 finishes. . . . Led by Jacob Bridgeman, Clemson’s men took third place in the Nike Golf Collegiate in Oregon. . . . Former USC golfer Nanna Madsen posted her best LPGA tournament finish, claiming second place in the Indy Women’s in Tech Championship. . . . Clemson’s women’s team placed ninth in the Schooner Fall Classic in Norman, Oklahoma. . . . Jayne Pardus (Mt. Pleasant) began he first year in senior competition by winning the WSCGA Senior title, then added the WSCGA Match-Play championship. She took her third major of the year last week in the CGA’s Carolinas Senior Women’s Amateur.