GOLF: HHI’s Jonathan Griz becomes state’s youngest amateur champ

Hilton Head Island teenager Jonathan Griz has been labeled the Next Big Thing for several years now — one of the top junior golfers in a state brimming with talent. It might be time for someone else to take on the moniker, because Griz has graduated.

After breaking through for a big win at the North & South Junior last month, the 16-year-old Griz notched an impressive amateur victory Sunday, becoming the youngest champion in the 89-year history of the S.C. Golf Association’s Amateur Championship. 

“The amount of names on this trophy that have gone on to play on the PGA Tour and win,” Griz said. “For me to come out here and become the youngest champion, it gives me so much confidence, and I’m honored to win this event.”

Griz carded a 5-under-par 67 in the final round Sunday at Columbia Country Club in Blythewood, blowing by 54-hole leader and defending champion Tyler Gray and the rest of the field to finish at 14-under for the week and claim a three-shot victory. 

The back nine was eventful for Griz all week, with scores ranging from 6-under 30 to 4-over 40, so it was only fitting that his play after the turn Sunday wound up being the difference. 

Photo courtesy of S.C. Golf Association

A tap-in eagle on the par-5 12th vaulted Griz into the lead, and he never gave up the top spot. After a bogey at No. 13, he made back-to-back birdies and stayed out of trouble the rest of the way to hold off Christian Salzer and Kyle Bearden. 

Hilton Head Prep standout JT Herman tied for 15th, while Beaufort High’s Jerry Bruns tied for 22nd. 

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