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Hinkle and Campbell Win SC Junior Match Play Titles

 

Match play results of the SC Junior Match Play Championship hosted by Green Valley Country Club in Greenville, SC on Friday, July 22, 2016.
 
After two unpredictable days of match play that saw the field shrink from 60 to four, the final day of the Championship was full of fantastic golf from players who proved they belonged. In the first semifinal Brady Hinkle of Lancaster grabbed an early lead over Zach Gordon of Gaffney. Hinkle was three-up until Gordon won the sixth hole after making a ten foot birdie putt. Gordon proceeded to cut his deficit in half by winning the eighth hole. Gordon leveled the match on No. 10. Surrendering the lead must not have sat well with the No. 16 seed. Hinkle proceeded to win Nos. 11 and 12 then eagled the par-5 13th to go three-up in the match. Gordon, who earlier in the Championship knocked out Hinkle’s caddie Levi Moody, won the par-3 14th to get back to within two holes. The two rising juniors halved the next two holes. Hinkle won the 17th to seal the victory three-and-one and move on to the championship.
 
This is the 39th edition of the Championship, and the second semifinal was without a doubt one of the greatest matches in the history of the event. The No. 7 seed Ryan Marter of Columbia squared off against the No. 54 seed Manning Sloop. Sloop, a rising freshman, quickly silenced any doubters when he worked his way to a three-up lead after birdieing the sixth. Marter won his first hole of the day on the par-4 seventh but Manning regained a three-up lead by winning the eighth.
 
Marter was beginning to express his frustration and told Hinkle in passing on the 11th hole “I am one-under and three down, what can I do?” Although the question was rhetorical Marter apparently answered it for himself. A flurry of birdies on Nos. 11-13 all of the sudden squared the match. Sloop made a huge par putt on No. 14 to keep the match squared. Marter took advantage of the drivable par-4 15th converting his fourth birdie in five holes to take his first lead of the match. Marter’s length was again on display when he found himself inside of 10 feet for birdie on the par-5 16th. The eagle putt slid by and the pesky Sloop knocked in a birdie to remain just one-down, despite Marter being five-under on the back nine. Both players parred No. 17 leaving Sloop one back heading to No. 18. All signs indicated the clock was ready to strike midnight on this Cinderella story. The rising senior was playing fantastic golf and was within three feet for par on No. 18. Rather than exiting stage left, Sloop drained a fifteen foot birdie putt forcing extra holes. Both players got up and down from the greenside bunker on No. 1, the 19th hole. Marter’s drive on the par-5 second, the 20th hole, snuck into the lateral hazard on the left side, seemingly ending his chances. Of course Marter had one more trick up his sleeve. The No. 7 seed hit a miraculous shot that cut around a flurry of trees from well over 200 yards and came to rest twelve feet from the hole. Unfazed Sloop knocked his approach inside of that. After Marter’s eagle putt raced past the hole Sloop stepped up and made his birdie to prevail in 20 holes and advance to the finals.
 
Hinkle, who was waiting patiently for the Championship match, heard rumors of the heroic performance his final opponent just pulled off. The College of Charleston commit made a lengthy putt on the first hole to win the hole and halt any momentum Sloop brought into the match. Two birdies later, Hinkle again found himself three-up early in his match. This time it was Sloop who had to fight back. At this point it would have been understandable if the rising freshman had nothing left in the tank, but he was not ready to see his run come to an end. Hinkle made birdie on the seventh, then won the ninth to trim his deficit to just one. Sloop proceeded to win the 10th to claw back to all square. For the second time on Friday Hinkle had seen a three-up lead vanish by the 10th hole. Just as he did in the morning Hinkle regained his composure and started winning holes. As was the case in the morning, Hinkle restored his three-up lead by the 13th. However, this time he just kept winning holes. A clutch par putt on the 14th left the No. 16 seed four up with four to play. Sloop once again watched as his opponent nearly drove the green. Hinkle’s birdie was conceded making him the 39th South Carolina Junior Match Play Champion.
 
The championship match in the SC Junior Girls' Match Play Championship was exciting to say the very least.  Alyssa Campbell of Lake Wylie, who was down in her match for most of the day, mounted an exciting comeback to defeat #2 seed Anna Grace Brock of Greenwood.
 
Campbell was two down through four holes after Brock birdied the second hole and won the par four hole with a par. Campbell got one back on the par-4 7th but gave it right back after bogeying the par-3, eighth. Brock had a bit of a putting fiasco on the ninth green, conceded the hole and headed to the back nine with a one-up lead. After halving the 10th hole, Campbell birdied No. 11 to square the match but lost No. 12 to fall one behind yet again. When asked about how she dealt with being down in the match for the majority of the day, Campbell said, “When I was down I just kept telling myself that I still had a lot of holes left. There was still a lot of golf left to be played. I kept that in mind and kept pushing myself to hit better shots and make smarter decisions.” Momentum would soon be swinging in Campbell’s favor, as Brock hit her second shot on the par-5, 13th out of bounds and eventually conceded the hole. Birdie on No. 15 would give Campbell her first lead of the day and a consecutive birdie on No. 16 would put Brock down two down with two to play. “What got me going was telling myself that I got here for a reason. There’s a reason that you made it to the finals, why not put a cherry on top and win it.” Campbell was undoubtedly fierce coming down the stretch but Brock would not go away that easily. Down two with two to play, Brock missed the green by a few yards on No. 17, while Campbell hit her approach shot to 20 feet. Brock proceeded to rattle the cup with her chip shot as it went in the hole for birdie. “I wasn’t thinking it was going to be over. I always think there’s going to be a next hole. When she chipped it in, I knew I could make my birdie putt and end it or go one more hole and tie her for it to be over.” Going into No. 18 Campbell said she was focused on tying Brock on the hole and not doing anything crazy. Brock caught a flyer on her approach shot from the rough into the 18th and her ball sailed over the green, while Campbell hit her approach shot to about 20 feet. Brock’s flop shot would wind up a lengthy 15 feet past the pin, while Campbell proceeded to run her birdie try five feet past the hole. The match seemed to be over, as Brock would have to make her 15-footer to force Campbell to putt for par. Brock did just that, knocking her par putt into the back of the hole with extreme conviction. Campbell’s five-foot par putt seemed to grow by the second as Brock picked her ball out of the hole, but Campbell did not shy away from the challenge at hand. After Brock made her par putt on No. 18 Campbell recalls, “I just told myself to go for it, give it all you’ve got.” Campbell’s par putt hit the back of the cup with affirmation, as she secured a one-up victory over Brock.
 
An incredibly exciting end to a hard fought match was now over, as both girls shook hands and went their separate ways. When asked about what this victory meant moving forward, the rising high school junior beamed, “This was by far the biggest tournament I’ve won so far. Hopefully now I can get into bigger tournaments and this win will help me get into college or just help me in general in the future.”
 

Boys' match play brackets  |  Girls' match play bracketsHole by hole stroke play scoring  |  Tournament photos

 
Boys' Championship
Semifinals
(75) Brady Hinkle, Lancaster, S.C. (2018) defeated (78) Zack Gordon, Gaffney, S.C. (2018), 3&1
(84) Manning Sloop, Rock Hill, S.C. (2020) defeated (73) Ryan Marter, Columbia, S.C. (2017), 20 holes
Finals
(75) Brady Hinkle, Lancaster, S.C. (2018) defeated (84) Manning Sloop, Rock Hill, S.C. (2020), 5&3
 
Girls' Championship
Finals
(75) Alyssa Campbell, Lake Wylie, S.C. (2018) defeats. (70) Anna Grace Brock, Greenwood, S.C. (2019), 1 up


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