Zach Adams used the same formula — a strong back nine — over the weekend for a springboard to winning the 91st South Carolina Amateur at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club.
He fired a 4-under-par 32 on the final nine holes Saturday to establish a four-stroke advantage and turned back his challengers with a birdie-eagle salvo on Nos. 13 and 15 in Sunday’s final round.
A graduate of First Baptist School in Charleston who will join the University of South Carolina golf team this fall, Adams posted a final round of even-par 72 Sunday. He earned the championship in the state’s top event for amateurs by five shots with a four-day total of 9-under-par 279.
He started slowly Sunday with three bogeys on his first seven holes, and his lead dwindled to a single shot.
He responded to the challenge.
He birdied the par-3 ninth to create some breathing room, and his domination of the back nine’s par-5 holes left his pursuers playing for second place.
Nathan Franks, Adams’ future teammate with the Gamecocks from Roebuck, joined Zachary Reuland (Rock Hill/College of Charleston) and Carlos Garre (Myrtle Beach/Francis Marion) in sharing second at 4-under 284. Rowan Sullivan (Charleston), Sam Jackson (West Columbia) and Crawford Reeves (Taylors) finished another stroke back.
Adams’ early struggles opened the door for challengers, and both Garre and Reeves, a former Clemson player, moved close before the pivotal ninth, a par-3 playing at 195 yards on Sunday.
Playing two groups ahead, Reeves, who had opened his round with four consecutive birdies, made bogey. Garre, in the final pairing with Adams and Jake Moore, made bogey.
Adams made birdie for a two-shot swing.
“I hit it to about 15 feet and made the putt,” Adams recounted afterward. “That changed the momentum.”
Indeed, his one-shot lead grew to three, and he had command again. He made sure over the final nine.
A birdie at the hole called Waterloo — the 640-yard 13th where he made double-bogey in the first round — padded his advantage and his eagle on the 540-yard 15th erased any doubts.
The putter he credited for his sizzling back nine on Saturday stayed hot.
“I made about a 25-foot putt (for birdie) on No. 13 and made probably a 30-footer on 15 (for eagle),” he said.
Adams had planned to move in at USC on Friday, but that must wait; he has qualified to play in the U.S. Amateur that begins Aug. 15 in Paramus, New Jersey. He barely missed making the U.S. Junior Amateur field this summer, finishing in a tie for the final qualifying spot and losing in a playoff.
Adams is the fourth player in 11 years to earn the State Amateur title before beginning college golf. Cody Proveaux started the trend in 2012 at the Country Club of Spartanburg. Carson Young won at Woodcreek at year later and Jonathan Griz took the 2020 title at Columbia Country Club.
South Carolina Amateur Scores, 2022
Zach Adams 69-70-68-72 — 279
Nathan Franks 74-71-71-68 — 284
Carlos Garre 71-70-72-71 — 284
Zachary Reuland 76-64-73-71 — 284
Sam Jackson 73-71-72-69 — 285
Rowan Sullivan 71-73-73-68 — 285
Crawford Reeves 75-68-72-70 — 285
Evans Lewis 74-72-70-70 — 286
Holden Grigg 70-76-72-69 — 287
Calahan Keever 71-67-77-72 — 287
Walker Jones 73-71-75-69 — 288
Gene Zeigler 72-68-74-74 — 288
Brady Hinkle 74-69-75-71 — 289
Major Lenning 73-70-74-72 — 289
Austin Scott 66-75-76-72 — 289
Garrett Cooper 72-71-70-76 — 289
Zachary Herold 70-70-74-75 — 289
Parker Mills 70-76-72-72 — 290
Rafe Reynolds 74-72-70-74 — 290
Weston Bell 73-70-76-71 — 290
Robert Lutomski 75-73-72-71 — 291
Jake Miller 73-66-72-80 — 291
Nick Mayfield 71-74-73-74 — 292
Walt Todd Jr. 73-75-73-72 — 293
Jamie Stanley 76-74-71-72 — 293
Max Green 75-70-76-72 — 293