|...Carolina Golf News Line|
A ROOKIE NO MORE!
N.C. – A little over one month ago,
recent USC-Aiken graduate Dane Burkhart decided to begin his pro career on the
Tarheel Tour at the Treyburn Open in Durham, NC. Burkhart caught fire that week
and went on to claim his first pro title in his first pro event. Not too bad for
a kid from Aiken, SC who a few weeks prior had been cramming for finals.
Unfortunately for the rest of the players on the Tarheel Tour, Burkhart more
than backed up his rookie win with an impressive performance this week at the
Rocky River Classic.
The former Pacer opened this week’s event with a nine under par round of 63, good enough for a two shot lead heading into Thursday’s final round. With the event being shortened to 36 holes due to Tuesday’s heavy rain, players kept the same pairings for two days and in turn there was no “leader group” for Burkhart to know how he stood.
“I got an update here and there on the back nine from tournament officials, but the only thing I felt was that I had to be better than ten under,” said the former NCAA Division II “All American”.
As fate would have it, Burkhart’s hunch was right and he found himself on the tee of the par-5 18th needing birdie to win.
“I wound up hitting driver and a 5 wood to 20 feet and then two putted from there for birdie and the win.”
I really got lucky this week with my pairing of Jason Martin and Jonathan Hill. We just had a good time and fed off of each other for two days.”
Burkhart says he hopes this win might get him some exemptions into Nationwide Tour events in the coming months.
“You look at what Kyle Reifers did, going from winning out here to winning on the Nationwide Tour, and it really makes you want to play at a higher level because you just never know when you’ll get hot.”
In the meantime, Burkhart plans to play the Tarheel Tour in preparation for PGA Tour Q-School this fall, an event in which, should he keep playing like this, will surely vault him to golf’s grandest stage.
William McGirt, Jonathan Jenkins, and Gregg Jones all finished at ten under 134, one shot behind Burkhart. Bogies at 14 and 17 kept Jenkins from claiming his first Tarheel Tour title, while Jones fell short with a bogey at the short par-3 15th. McGirt, a former North Carolina Amateur Champion, played the game of consistency this week with rounds of 67-67 over the Dan Maples designed layout.
Fifth place went to Charlottesville, VA native Tim Pemberton who carded rounds of 68-67. 2006 Rock Hill Open Champion Alex Hamilton claimed solo sixth with rounds of 67-69.
The tour would like to thank Head Golf Course Superintendent Mason Ivey and his team for their incredible work this week in trying conditions. The golf course was in fantastic shape for all players after the heavy rains on Tuesday. The tour also thanks Head Golf Professional Floyd Gragg and his staff for their work this week.
The Tarheel Tour stays in Cabarrus County next week for the 2nd annual Southern Open at Cabarrus and Kannapolis Country Clubs.
For more information, visit www.tarheeltour.com.
River Golf Club
Par 72 – 6,970 yards
Burkhart, Aiken, SC
McGirt, Taylors, SC
Jenkins, Jonesboro, GA
Pemberton, Charlottesville, VA
Hamilton, Aiken, SC
Walnut Cove, NC
Martin, Lenoir, NC
Sloan, Greenville, SC
Volpitto, Jupiter, FL
Siegel, Matthews, NC
Feaster, Columbia, SC
Cantwell, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
McAllister, Spartanburg, SC
Robinson, Sandersville, GA
Sanchez, Pinehurst, NC
Mundorf, Greensboro, NC
Vero Beach, FL
Bettencourt, Greenville, SC
Norris, South Africa
Lawrence, Easley, SC
Poole Jr., Spartanburg, SC
Seawell, Columbia, SC
Taylor, Mocksville, NC
Wynns, Clayton, NC
Shields, Bethel Park, PA
Hill, Greenville, NC