St. Andrews University men’s and women’s golf coach William Carter is no stranger to the Scotland County Amateur Golf Championship, which took place this past weekend. Winner of six of the last seven tournaments prior, Carter found himself poised to win his seventh on Sunday once flights (groupings based on skill level) were determined.
After a battle with eventual second place winner Joel Hartwell that came down to the final nine holes, Carter maintained his poise to secure the two-stroke victory. But imagine Carter’s surprise when he saw who finished in third place: With a three-day score of 218, future St. Andrews golf team member Matt Forbis finished just five strokes behind his tally. After getting his two-year degree from Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, Forbis was one Carter’s four off-season recruits prior to last weekend’s countywide event.
In addition to Forbis, Carter noticed a much younger demographic over the course of the three-day tournament than he is usually accustomed to seeing. And for Carter, perhaps this an indication that Scotland County golf is finally obtaining a youth movement.
“Our local golf community hasn’t aged out, but it definitely needs to get younger, and to see high school and college students participating was a really encouraging sign,” said Carter, a Raeford, N.C. native who was also a member of the St. Andrews golf team for three years as a student of the university.
“I saw more young golfers at this most recent tournament than I’ve seen in years, which really speaks to the growing interest level in the community,” he said.
The Scotland County Amateur Golf Championship was founded 28 years ago by local golf professionals Chip Wells (Scotch Meadows), Hal Jernigan (Cypress Creek, formally known as The Lodge), and Roger Floyd (Deercroft). Open to golfers of all competitive skill levels, the tournament was envisioned to cast a spotlight over the three local country clubs while also keeping pace with the surrounding counties who also host yearly amateur events.
Present day, the tradition and purpose still remain the same. And because Scotland County is wedged firmly in one of the premiere golfing meccas in the country, Wells (who still organizes the tournament) believes that the event is more important than ever for Scotland golf fans and enthusiasts.
“With Myrtle Beach and Pinehurst sandwiching us, we’re in the golf capital of the US,” Wells said. “Not only do we want to remain competitive with the other counties, but we also want to continue growing the game locally. We want to attract people to golf, get them playing and continue strengthening our community.”
Tournament play began Friday and continued through Sunday, with each round completed on a different golf course. Cypress Creek hosted the first day of the event, and Saturday saw Deercroft welcome the 54 tournament participants to its facilities. After the scores of the first two rounds were calculated, golfers were split into six different flights for the final round, which took place at Scotch Meadows on Sunday. Winners of each flight received trophies and gift certificates.
Though it was only the second Amateur Championship he’s hosted at Deercroft since relocating to Laurinburg, course owner Ted Robinson sees the tournament as a big opportunity to make golf more prestigious in the area. Citing Carter’s lifelong investment in the sport of golf, Robinson believes that the tournament can become one of the elite amateur events in the surrounding counties if it can expand both its’ participants and level of competition.
“William (Carter) is a great example of someone that grew up around the game and become a great amateur player, and I think sparking an interest like that in our local youth is key,” Robinson said. “The younger you start the better you can become, and if we can attract more top amateur golfers then it will create a snowball effect. The Scotch Meadows Amateur Championship is a terrific avenue to attract those type of golfers.”
2012 Scotland County Amateur Championship
Championship “A” Flight: 1. William Carter (72-69-72 = 213) 2. Joel Hartwell (69-73-73 = 215) 3. Matt Forbis (72-74-72 = 218)
Championship “B” Flight: 1. Calvin Hammonds (73-79-75 = 227) 2. Keith Deese (69-82-80 = 231) 3. Tyler Walsh (79-74-80 = 233)
First Flight: 1. Marty Hunt (75-84-77 = 236) 2. Rick Burgin (80-80-80 = 240) 3. Tyler McPherson (77-83-81 = 241)
Second Flight: 1. Matt McIntyre (75-89-79 = 243) 2. Ed Wright (80-85-79 = 244) 3. Grant Engish (86-76-82 = 244)
Third Flight: 1. Jay McMillan (82-86-85 = 253) 2. Joe Williams (79-87-87 = 253) 3. Tom Rosinski (82-91-81 = 254)
Fourth Flight: 1. Terry Graves (83-92-83 = 258) 2. Alan Coble (79-97-87 = 263) 3. John Hammonds (86-94-92 = 272)