Bluffton’s own, Matt Bova takes the South Carolina Open

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By Mark Newberry

For the second year in a row, Dataw Island’s Cotton Dike Golf Course has served as the host for the South Carolina Open from May 22nd-24th in which more than 100 amateur and PGA professional players from North and South Carolina competed in a 36-hole stroke play tournament. Weather and course conditions were superb contributing to several very good rounds on day 2 including an early 6 under par by Larry George of Wallace, North Carolina to become the leader in the clubhouse. His early lead of -2 did not hold up as Bluffton resident, Matt Bova, an assistant professional at Haig Point, took the lead at -3 with a second round 70, which posted before the lead group from day 1 teed off. The afternoon conditions proved to be too much for the final group which included last year’s champion and day 1 leader Cory Schneider as well as Beaufort’s own Josh Fickes, a sophomore on the Clemson golf team, who started the day trailing by one. Both players lost several strokes to par in the opening nine of day 2 and fell back from the leaders. There were several challengers, but ultimately Bova’s -3 proved to be too good and he took home the title.

The event showcased a premier field and highlighted the natural beauty of the Lowcountry and Dataw Island’s Cotton Dike Golf Course, which has garnered a lot of attention recently due to its challenging layout and excellent course conditions and was named as a top 50 course in South Carolina by the South Carolina Ratings Panel. In addition to the 65th South Carolina Open, Dataw has hosted several prestigious events this year including the Carolina’s Mid-Am Championship, the Carolina’s Senior Four Ball Championship, and the TaylorMade/Adidas Intercollegiate. The staffs of the Carolinas PGA Section and Dataw Island Club clearly succeeded in putting on a premier championship that was entertaining to the field and promoted local event partners.

Top photo: Ted Bartlett, Dataw Island GM; J.T. Carney and Brooks West with Yamaha; Matt Bova, Champ; Dave Britton, Dataw Golf Director; Josh May, Dataw Head Golf Pro; Bruce VanHorn, South State Bank.