Golf notes, Oct. 28: Hilton Head looks to corral state high school golf finals again

Now that one of the state high school golf championships has found its way down to Hilton Head Island, the mission is to keep bringing it back.

"We really want to make this a destination for high-school golf," said Hilton Head Island coach Rawn Grant, who doubled as tournament director for this week's Class 3-A final at Port Royal Golf Club. "From what I've heard, they want to come back here."

That ultimately will be up to the state's athletics directors, who vote in the spring on next year's sites. But aside from the squally weather that offered competitors a supreme two-day test on the Barony course, everything appeared to go smoothly.

The Class AAA event had spent the past six years in the Myrtle Beach area, and in Columbia for three of the four years before that. Likewise, other classifications and the boys' finals mostly seemed to land in Myrtle Beach, Columbia or the Greenville area.

As a locale that prides itself as a golf destination, Hilton Head certainly has the infrastructure. Teams were housed at the Sonesta Resort, and Port Royal rescheduled its ladies' club championship to make the Barony available for the required three days.

"We've tried to make everybody feel welcome," Grant said. "I told them at the coaches' meeting -- if there's something we can improve on, I need to know or we can't change it. Tell me what you'd like to see and we'll make it happen. We want to have it at Hilton Head. That's our goal."

Staying home also seemed to help the Seahawks, once they got over some initial nerves. A second-day 345 lifted Hilton Head to a fourth-place finish, its best since taking runner-up honors in 2007. Meredith Wipper placed sixth in the individual competition, buoyed by a closing 75.

"I think they were nervous (at the start). They didn't want to be embarrassed on home turf," Grant said. "But they did good. This is the state of South Carolina, and golf is big here. If you're in the top five, you've accomplished something."


Nine local courses once again are teaming up to offer complimentary rounds to all military personnel and disabled veterans as part of Military Veterans Golf Week starting Nov. 9.

Hampton Hall GC, Belfair, Callawassie GC and the six local Brown Golf Management facilities -- Dolphin Head, Rose Hill, Pinecrest, Eagle's Pointe, Crescent Pointe and Island West -- are participating in the eighth annual event. As with last year, 300 free rounds will be made available.

Interested personnel can begin reserving tee times Monday by calling any of the participating facilities. A $25 cart fee applies, and golfers must show military or veterans identification.


Hilton Head Island's Yuki Nakayama led a sweep of IJGA students atop the girls division at last weekend's HJGT Low Country Junior Shootout at Dolphin Head GC. Rounds of 74-75 pushed Nakayama one shot ahead of teammate Ankita Kedlaya (74-76), with Wint Phoo Nadi Aung another four shots back in third.

Jonathan Griz (Hilton Head Island) ran off with the Boys 13-14 division, using an opening 71 to establish a six-shot advantage that held after the second round. Caden Edwards (Hilton Head Island) took runner-up honors.

Nicholas Russell (Hilton Head Island) captured the Future Collegians event at Oyster Reef GC, prevailing on the first hole of a playoff over Korean golfer Bu Min Choi.


Bruce Devlin, a winner of eight PGA Tour events and runner-up at the 1981 Heritage, has been named keynote speaker for the Lowcountry Golf Hall of Fame's second induction ceremony next April.

Devlin, 78, stopped competing regularly in 1972 but caught a little lightning nine years later at Harbour Town when a closing 67 left him two shots behind winner Bill Rogers. The Australia native also was a top course architect, with Secession GC among some 150 designs worldwide.

The Hall of Fame also will conduct its first tournament fundraiser and silent auction Nov. 14 at Old South Golf Links. Entry is $135 per person, with awards and a cookout to follow. For more information, call Bob Collar at 843-816-0898.


Brook Sentell, once an assistant superintendent at Long Cove Club, is returning to the island to oversee turf management for Sea Pines Resort's Heron Point and new Ocean layouts.

Sentell comes to Sea Pines from Diamondhead CC on Mississippi's Gulf Coast, where he was superintendent for the past four years.

Heron Point recently was named South Carolina's Course of the Year by the state's golf course owners, following a series of tweaks made to the Pete Dye layout. The Ocean Course recently began a total renovation led by five-time RBC Heritage champion Davis Love III and his brother Mark.


Fred Goddin recorded a hole-in-one Oct. 22 at the 12th hole of Hidden Cypress GC, using a 7-iron from 133 yards away. Witnesses were Tom Temple, Terry Ellis and Mike Di Giovanni.

Sara Alley, visiting from Cincinnati, notched her first hole-in-one Saturday on the fourth hole of Palmetto Hall's Robert Cupp course. She used a driver from 127 yards out.

Dennis Foss scored a hole-in-one Sunday at the 17th hole of Okatie Creek GC, using a 8-iron from 102 yards. Witnesses were Ray Couch, Al Connell and Bob Trapp.

Follow reporter Jeff Shain at