USC golfers prevail in scholarship tourney

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Patterson honored for dedication

By Robert Howey

The Gamecocks have plenty to crow about, at least when it comes to the annual Big Thursday Scholarship golf tournament at the Lancaster Golf Club.

The USC golfers, comprised of area Gamecock fans, prevailed for the sixth time in the seventh annual Big Thursday tournament which is annually held prior to the Clemson-USC football game.

As has been the norm in the golf tournament, if the Gamecocks win, then Clemson prevails on the gridiron.

“We won again this year, but that’s going to change as far as the football game goes,” said Gamecock fan Larry Honeycutt, the golf tournament coordinator for the Big Thursday Scholarship Golf Committee. “This year the Gamecock golf victory is going to go with a USC football win.”

The Tigers host the Gamecocks in their annual rivalry game a week from Saturday at Clemson’s Death Valley. In the overall series, Clemson holds a 64-37-4 edge, with nine wins in the last 11 games. The Gamecock golfers prevailed 11-6 in the 18-hole match Thursday.

The tournament drew 68 players, 34 two-man teams.

“The conditions were ideal today,” Honeycutt said. “We really had a good day to play and it belonged to the Gamecock golfers.”

The USC effort was aided by Garrett Hammond who posted the tournament’s first-ever hole-in-one on No. 13.

“That was really a tough shot by Garrett,” Honeycutt said. “It was a 190-yard shot and the pin was at the back left of the green. I’m sure that’s something Garrett will always treasure since he had the first hole-in-one in this tournament.

“We really had some outstanding scores today, with some in the 60s,” Honeycutt said.

Clemson veteran backer Frank Ferguson led the Tigers’ play, shooting a sizzling 66.

Other close-up winners included Jerry Pressley (No. 4), Charles “Crow” Walters (No. 7) and Ferguson (No. 15).

Following the tournament, participants were treated to a Lowcountry shrimp boil at the LGC’s Fairway Room.

During the festivities Thursday night, auctioneer Richard Patterson, a driving force behind the scholarship tournament and a host of area and statewide events which support youth, was honored for his dedication.

Lancaster County Council Chairman Rudy Carter honored Patterson, an avid Clemson fan, for his work with the tournament as well as a host of similar events which help children of all ages.

“Honoring Richard Patterson was something we really needed to do,” Honeycutt said. “If anybody deserves recognition, Richard does. If it’s something for children or students, Richard is going to give extra effort.

“When this tournament was started, Richard and Don Rushing got it going and built the foundation,” Honeycutt said. “Richard continues to do all he can. They surrounded themselves with good people which you have to do, but you also have to have good leaders like Richard and Don to provide guidance.

“Richard’s goal is to raise $20,000 for each school one year and with his leadership we will get there,” Honeycutt said.

“Richard’s a hard worker and the backbone of this tournament,” said tournament committee member Glenda Powell. “We’re blessed that Richard has worked tirelessly to make this event what it is.”

Powell said since the tournament began, $90,000 in academic scholarship money has been raised to support Lancaster County students attending Clemson University and the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.

“I’m deeply, deeply touched by this recognition,” said Patterson, who used his faithful Tiger Rag to wipe away tears after being honored.