South Carolina takes slight lead at Junior Challenge Match

From Staff Reports

ATLANTA - Grant Waggoner of North Charleston fought back with a birdie on 18 to finish All Square with Georgia Junior Champion Scott Wolfes of St. Simons Island, giving the Palmetto State a slim 4 1/2 to 3 1/2 lead over Georgia in the first round of the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match at the Atlanta Country Club.

In a day that saw only two of eight matches go the full 18 holes, Team Georgia got off to a good start with two early wins. Joe Lewis of Savannah won 5 and 4 over Will Murphy of Columbia, while Caleb Morris of Metter picked up a 4-and-3 victory over Ford Blanchard of Orangeburg.

South Carolina then rattled off four-straight wins, with Wick Andrews of Columbia topping Matthew Beringer of Macon, 2 and 1, and Cody Proveaux of Leesville winning 5 and 4 over Jack Gibbs of Evans.

Columbus' Jimmy Beck was 3-down through 15 holes in his match with C.J. Liner of North Augusta. He birdied the 16th to get to 2-down with two to play, but halved the 17th, securing the win for Liner and South Carolina.

South Carolina also picked up a win from Austin Langdale of Townville, who won the 18th to defeat Austin Vick of Evans, 2 up.

Playing in the final pairing of the day, Davin White of Locust Grove, the runner-up in the 2010 Georgia Junior Championship, posted a 4-and-2 win over Hayden Garrett of Easley, who finished in the same position in South Carolina's Junior Championship.

South Carolina led 4-3 with one match on the course. Wolfes held a 1-up lead over Waggoner heading into the par-5 18th, but his approach shot to the green fell short of the hole and he settled for par, while Waggoner made his birdie putt to even up the match, giving each team a half-point. It was a key birdie for Waggoner; otherwise the two teams would have been tied, 4-4, after the first day.

Play resumes today with another round of matches beginning at 8:00 a.m. As in the first round, each of the eight matches will be worth one point and the two-day total will determine the winning team.

This is the 35th playing of the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match, which brings together the top junior golfers in the two neighboring states. Teams are composed of the top eight finishers from each state's Junior Championship. Georgia holds a 21-13 lead in the all-time series.