Johnson visits his tourney; fellow S.C. products shine

golf-dj-Trent phillipsTrent Phillips of Inman, S.C., shot a 31 on the back nine en route to a 5-under par 67 at TPC Myrtle Beach to take the first round lead in the boys division at Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship on Friday.

Skylar Thompson of Buford, Ga., and Natalie Petersen of Holly Springs, N.C., shot matching 2-under par 70s to take a three-stroke lead in the girls division. St. James standout Smith Knaffle is tied for 15th at 8-over.

Local boys playing in the national field, Trey Salley of Pawleys Island shot 1-over to tie for 12th, Matt Griego of North Myrtle Beach is tied for 18th at 2-over, and Patrick Golden of Murrells Inlet is tied for 26th at 3-over.

Phillips started the day slowly, making bogey on the third and fourth holes, but quickly caught fire. He played the final 12 holes in seven-under, highlighted by an eagle on the par 5 14th. Phillips’ birdie on the 18th gave him a two-shot lead over Aman Gupta of Concord, N.C.

The event’s 104-player field, which includes boys and girls divisions, is comprised of the game’s next generation of stars. Players from 19 states and five countries are participating in the 54-hole tournament. Play will conclude with Sunday’s third round.

Newly minted World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who played at nearby Coastal Carolina, was on hand to welcome players to his event and the hit Golf Channel show Morning Drive is broadcasting live from the tournament all weekend. Charlie Rymer and Chantel McCabe are anchoring the network’s coverage.

Eight of the top 10 junior boys and 11 of the top 12 junior girls in South Carolina are playing in the tournament. Twenty participants have signed National Letters of Intent to play collegiate golf this fall.

With the support of Johnson, who secured the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings with his win at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, the tournament will provide participants a PGA Tour-like experience, and the chance to challenge themselves against their peers from others parts of America and the world.

Photo courtesy of MB Golf Holiday

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