Athlete of Week: Knaffle has hot summer on links

Remember those pesky first day of school assignments “What I did on my summer break” essays? St. James High junior golfer and Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week Smith Knaffle could write a novel about her experiences over the past two months.

“It really flew by,” Knaffle said via phone from Iowa, the latest stop on a summer golf tour that has taken her all over the Southeast. “Playing in so many tournaments against so many great players and getting to travel so much has been an incredible experience.”

In addition to her usual hectic schedule of local and regional junior tournaments, Knaffle managed to qualify for three major national events – the Girls Junior PGA Championship in St. Louis, MO, the Big I national tournament in Madison, MS, and the US Girls Junior Championship in Augusta, Mo.

The latter turned out to be Knaffle’s biggest splash on the national golf scene, joining 156 of the top juniors in the world – and proving she belonged. She qualified in the top 64 to advance to match play, and defeated a highly ranked opponent in the first round before falling shy of the Sweet 16.

“That was really big for me because there were so many great players there from all over,” Knaffle said. “I had a lot of confidence going in. I always felt like I could play at that level; it was just a matter of getting the opportunity. I’m glad I got the chance to compete at that level and show what I could do.”

But Knaffle’s biggest moment of the summer might have happened off the course. Her impressive play on the junior circuit and already incredible high school career had attracted lots of interest from colleges. Knaffle used the summer to settle the recruiting questions by committing to her dream school – the University of South Carolina.

“I’ve always been a Gamecocks fan and I love the school and the program,” Knaffle said. “Coach Anderson and Blackmon (USC head coach and director of golf development) have been there a long time and they showed a lot of interest in me. I’m really looking forward to going to South Carolina.”

But first Knaffle has a more immediate goal of completing a rare team and individual feat with the Lady Sharks. The two-time state champion and medalist begins her dual title defenses this fall, and her ultimate goal is to finish high school with a dual sweep of four team and individual state crowns.

“We’ve got a good chance of winning it this year,” said Knaffle, whose Lady Sharks open play in Saturday’s Aynor Lady Blue Jacket Invitational. “But my senior year, when (teammate) Jordan White is gone and we move up (to Class 5A) will be a lot harder, but it gives us something to shoot for.”

Look for Smith to have more happy summers and seasons to come.

Photo courtesy of USGA

 

Comments

comments

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season North Myrtle Beach's record-setting season came to an end Friday [more]

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoops

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoopsFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina in the [more]

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in Conway

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in ConwaySouth Carolina's debut in the Puerto Rico Classic at the [more]

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teams

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teamsThe 2017 Beach Ball Classic announced its schedule for the [more]

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face Clemson

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face ClemsonFrantzdy Pierrot teamed up with Martin Melchor to give the [more]

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victory

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victoryThe Coastal Carolina football team (1-9, 0-6 Sun Belt) will [more]

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-Off

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-OffThe South Carolina men's basketball team has home court of [more]

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point losses

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point lossesJaylen Shaw scored 17 points, but it was not enough [more]

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seed

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seedThe Sun Belt Conference announced its final weekly volleyball awards [more]

Chants win Sun Belt title, face Mercer in NCAA tilt

Chants win Sun Belt title, face Mercer in NCAA tiltCoastal Carolina men's soccer team gathered in the athletics field [more]

Golf: SJ's White inks deal; CF's Spencer closes strong

Golf: SJ's White inks deal; CF's Spencer closes strongSt. James High golfer Jordan White made her first hole-in-one [more]

Gamecocks invade Strand to compete in PR Tip-Off

Gamecocks invade Strand to compete in PR Tip-OffFresh off its first Final Four appearance, South Carolina travels [more]

Riptides Racing swimmers dive in for rare double dip

Riptides Racing swimmers dive in for rare double dipRiptides Racing team had a busy weekend with two squads [more]

Youth Soccer: BUFC, Coast claim four championships

Youth Soccer: BUFC, Coast claim four championshipsSixteen Coast  FA teams entered the Adidas Clash in Greensboro, [more]

CCU volleyball captures Sun Belt title, No. 1 seed

CCU volleyball captures Sun Belt title, No. 1 seedThe Coastal Carolina volleyball team clinched the number one overall [more]

CCU suffers ninth straight defeat to big-play Trojans

CCU suffers ninth straight defeat to big-play TrojansMarcus Jones returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a [more]

Late goal lifts Chanticleers into Sun Belt tourney final

Late goal lifts Chanticleers into Sun Belt tourney finalFrandzty Pierrott scored the winning goal in the 82nd minute [more]

NMB holds off Crestwood, goes to Lower State semis

NMB holds off Crestwood, goes to Lower State semisThe North Myrtle Beach High had to battle to keep [more]

Seahawks stunned on final play by Lower Richland

Seahawks stunned on final play by Lower RichlandShocking! That's the only word to describe Myrtle Beach's heartbreaking [more]

Class 5A: Tigers, Panthers defeated in second round

Class 5A: Tigers, Panthers defeated in second roundThis looked like it could be the year for Conway [more]

CCU men, women open seasons with big victories

CCU men, women open seasons with big victoriesCoastal Carolina University started the 2017-18 season in strong fashion [more]

Local trio of girls golfers playing in North-South

Local trio of girls golfers playing in North-SouthA trio of Horry County senior golfers are closing out [more]

Playoff Previews & Picks: Catch fire when it counts

Playoff Previews & Picks: Catch fire when it countsIt's not how you start, but how you finish. That [more]

CCU baseball announces 'ambitious' 2018 schedule

CCU baseball announces 'ambitious' 2018 scheduleHome games versus eight 2017 NCAA Regional teams and facing [more]

Carolina Forest, St. James top local list of signees

Carolina Forest, St. James top local list of signeesCarolina Forest and St. James had four student-athletes sign college [more]

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season North Myrtle Beach's record-setting season came to an end Friday [more]

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoops

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoopsFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina in the [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach