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Wilson High's Pake June (left) won the Grant Bennett Invitational Tournament last year. The SCJGA has suspended all events through May 10, but the Florence Country Club tournament is still a go for the time being.

Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. — The South Carolina Junior Golf Association was one of the organizations that announced suspension of play because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

All competitive and non-competitive events are off the schedule until at least May 10. The next event on the docket is the South Carolina Golf Association Junior Championship set for June 8-10 at Pawley’s Island.

The one right after that, however, is the 69th Annual Grant Bennett Invitational at Florence Country Club, with registration set to begin on April 2.

As of Thursday, FCC head golf professional Steve Behr said the fate of the tournament is still on a wait-and-see basis.

“We don’t know yet,” Behr said. “I’ve been in contact with (the SCJGA) and the SCGA, and they’ve suspended things through May 10, but not into June yet. So right now they’re planning on doing those, but that’s kind of a day-to-day thing.”

The two governing bodies handle everything in regard to registration, Behr said, so any decision to delay that process would come down from them.

“That’ll be a decision they make, but we sure hope we can have it,” he added. “But we have to do what the safest thing is for everyone.”

The Grant Bennett Invitational is the longest-running junior golf event in South Carolina and one of the oldest in the Carolinas overall, Behr said. It started in 1952 and as far as he knows, the tournament has been held every year since.

Wilson High standout Pake June is the defending tournament champion. He became the first Florence golfer to win the event since 1996 with a 1-stroke victory over Camden’s Willis Kelly last year. June shot a 139 to lead the field.

Trinity-Byrnes’ Gene Zeigler finished tied for third overall with a 141 and Hartsville’s Daniel Coker wasn’t far behind at 143.

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