FLORENCE, S.C. – Darlington’s Jamie Stanley knew he needed a momentum boost after losing the early lead Sunday in the final round of the Florence Amateur Championship.
Nothing does that like making four birdies during a five-hole stretch.
Leave it to the former All-American to do just that, and that set the stage for Stanley’s overall 206 that gave him a one-shot victory over Florence’s Michael Rials at Traces Golf Club.
Stanley’s flourish while making the turn put him at 4 under overall. He finished his round Sunday with a 69, the same score he carded Friday. During Saturday’s outing, he scored a 68.
While playing the first nine-hole layout, Woodlands, Stanley played even par through the first six holes before birdieing Nos. 7 and 8.
After parring 9, he then ventured on to the Meadows course, where he birdied 1 and 2. At Meadows No. 1, Stanley nearly scored an eagle from 10 feet. But he tapped in for birdie and then sank a 20-footer at 2.
“After going 4 under going into Meadows No. 3, I knew from that point if I made pars, I knew it’d take a good score to beat me,” Stanley said.
Rials, who played at Trinity-Byrnes and now competes for Francis Marion University, did make a charge Sunday with the tourney’s lowest round at 66.
Although Stanley bogeyed his final hole, he was able to hold on.
“This means a lot to me, because I don’t think I’m old by no means, but there’s a lot of good golfers out there that play every day that are probably better golfers than me,” Stanley said.
It was Stanley’s first win in “two or three years” when he won the Southern 500 Golf Tournament at Darlington Country Club. He finished second in last year’s Southern 500 golf event after a playoff.
In recent years, Stanley said he has tried to limit himself to one individual tournament per year.
That just might change after Sunday.
“It definitely sparks my interest,” Stanley said. “I’ve been wanting to play more individual tournaments, because I still think I can win and still have good enough of a golf game to where I can win.
Stanley sure has a history of winning.
At USC Aiken, he not only was a four-time All-American, but he won two Peach Belt tournament crowns and was the regional medalist in 1997. He also was the 1994 NCAA Division II men's freshman golfer of the Year.
The tournament was sponsored by Quality Air Tool.
In the women’s tournament, Denise Bracket won top honors with an overall 241.