Still sizzling: SC golfer caps month to cherish with U.S. Senior Amateur title

Todd White captured the South Carolina Amateur the first weekend in August and a day later led the qualifying for the U.S. Senior Amateur.

“If it’s your week, it’s your week,” he said after five rounds of outstanding golf on consecutive days.

A week later, he led qualifying for the U.S. Mid-Amateur, which could have changed his observation to this: “If it’s your fortnight, it’s your fortnight.”

Well, he’s going to have to alter his thought to this: “If it’s you month, it’s your month.”

The latter revision comes thanks to his performance in the U.S. Senior Amateur in Truckee, California. First, he earned the qualifying medal in 36 holes of stroke play, which made him the No. 1 seed for the match-play portion of the championship. Then, he reeled off six wins to bring home the biggest individual victory of his Hall of Fame career.

A 55-year-old instructor at Spartanburg High School, White out-dueled Jody Fanagan in the final on Thursday, defeating the Irishman 4 and 3 in a battle for former Walker Cup players at Martis Camp Club in the Lake Tahoe area.

Fanagan won the opening hole with a birdie. White pulled even with a birdie at the fifth, moved to a 2-up lead with wins at the seventh and ninth holes and stretched his advantage to 3-up by taking the 12th. He closed out the victory with a birdie on No. 15.

The spoils of victory include a gold medal, custody of the trophy for a year, exemption from 2024 U.S. Open local qualifying and exemption into multiple of USGA championships.

The triumph in Thursday’s final proved to be one of the less stressful for White, who teamed with Nathan Smith to win the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title.

He hit only five fairways and experience three 3-putts in his opening match, but he won the final two holes to prevail 1-up. “A recipe for disaster,” he said afterward.

White needed 21 holes to advance in the round of 32 before his most decisive win, 5 and 4, followed in the round of 16 Tuesday afternoon.

In Wednesday morning’s quarterfinals, he again went overtime, birdieing the first playoff hole to advance. In the afternoon, he defeated Roger Newsom 2 and 1 in a duel that the players combined for 13 birdies.

The close matches “are expected,” said White, who was competing in his 35th USGA championships. “Almost every guy you see on the board for match play are all tested. And you know they’re going to play (well).”

White looked to an icon in another spot for his philosophy.

“Coach (Nick) Saban (of Alabama football) talks about the process. Don’t worry about the outcome, just do your job,” White said. “That’s kind of what I’m doing on each shot. I’m not worried about what my opponent is doing. I’m just trying to play the best golf I can.”

Next up? He plays in the U.S. Mid-Amateur in a couple of weeks and maybe he’ll need to revise his “if it’s your time ...” credo once again.

South Carolina’s USGA Champions

(Natives or Residents)

  • Buddy Baker, Florence, 1958 U.S. Junior Amateur

  • Carolyn Cudone, Myrtle Beach, 1968, ’69, ’70, ’71, ’72 U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur

  • Jensen Castle, West Columbia, 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur

  • Beth Daniel, Charleston, 1975, ’77 U.S. Women’s Amateur

  • Lucas Glover, Greenville, 2009 U.S. Open

  • Kathy Baker Guadagnino, Lake Wylie, 1985 U.S. Women’s Open

  • Dustin Johnson, Columbia, 2016 U.S. Open

  • Corbin Mills, Greenville, 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links

  • Clarence (CC) Moore, Winnsboro, 1988, ’92 U.S. Senior Amateur

  • Chris Patton, Fountain Inn, 1989 U.S. Amateur

  • Charlie Rymer, Fort Mill, 1985 U.S. Junior Amateur

  • D.J. Trahan, Spartanburg, 2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links

  • Todd White, Spartanburg, 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball (with Nathan Smith), 2023 U.S. Senior Amateur

(S.C. college players who were from out of state)

  • Alice Chen, Furman, 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball (with Taylor Totland)

  • Bruce Fleisher, Furman, 1968 U.S. Amateur, 2001 U.S. Senior Open

  • Kevin Johnson, Clemson, 1987 U.S. Public Links

  • Betsy King, Furman, 1989, ’90 U.S. Women’s Open

  • Brett Quigley, USC, U.S. Junior Amateur

  • Doc Redman, Clemson, 2017 U.S. Amateur

  • Taylor Totland, Furman, 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball (with Alice Chen)

Chip shots

Walter Todd Sr. and Ron Cerrudo have been chosen for induction into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame. Todd, from Laurens, has carved out a distinguished amateur career in state, national and international competition. Cerrudo, a native Californian who moved to Mount Pleasant more than 20 years ago, played on the U.S. Walker Cup team, won three tournaments in his 11-year career on the PGA Tour and has taught the game at Ron Cerrudo Learning Center at Daniel Island Club since 2002. They will become the Hall’s 77th and 78th members in ceremonies on Golf Day in January. ... The team of Michael Sims (Lexington) and Garland Ferrell (Greenville) won the SCGA’s Mid-Amateur Four-Ball title at Florence CC, edging Kevin Driggers (Mount Pleasant) and Andrew LockLiear (Moncks Corner) in a playoff. ... Spencer Skiff (Columbia), Ben Goforth (Greenville) and Davis Womble (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) earned berths in the U.S. Mid-Amateur in qualifying at Camden CC. ... The World Amateur Handicap Championship, drew a field of 3,260 players. Participants came from all 50 states and 17 countries to compete in the 40th edition of the tournament played on 50 courses along South Carolina’s Grand Strand.