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Sutton to defend LGC championship

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By Robert Howey

Anthony “T” Sutton will defend his title this weekend in the annual Lancaster Golf Club championship at the LGC.
Sutton, a Buford High School golf star, heads a strong field in contention for the LGC’s top honor.
A year ago, Sutton shot a 150 (72-78) to capture a six-shot win over Buford High School golf teammate Garrett Crenshaw, (81-75). Crenshaw was tied with Bruce Gantt at the end of regulation, but carded a par on the first playoff hole to finish as the runner-up to Sutton.
Sutton has had a strong summer, including the Matt Blackwell Award Presented by the Lancaster chapter of the S.C. Junior Golf Association as its player of the year.
Sutton, in the club title tourney last year, started strong with an even-par 72, highlighted by his third career hole-in-one.
Sutton and Lancaster High School golf ace Brady Hinkle, who has committed to play at the College of Charleston, are regarded as the favorites heading into the 36-hole tournament.
Hinkle captured the 2014 club title with a three-under 141 (72-69) for a nine-shot victory. Hinkle was the club runner-up in 2013.
Hinkle has had a stellar summer of golf, including his recent title for the S.C. Junior Match Play crown at the Green Valley Country Club in Greenville.
“You have to say ‘T’ and Brady are the favorites,” LGC pro Phil Small said. “Both have been there in the run for the championship and won. They’ve been through the pressure and know what to expect with the pressure on in this tournament.
“They have plenty of experience playing those back tees.”
Hinkle, due to a commitment to play in a prestigious junior tournament, didn’t play in the 2015 LGC tournament last August.
Small said Sutton and Hinkle will likely receive a challenge from the likes of former club champions Chris Johnson and Scott Roberts.
Gantt, an eight-time Chester Golf Club champion, has opted to play in the LGC’s senior field of the club championship.
“You also have some upcoming juniors like Trey Crenshaw, Nick Mangano and Mason Tucker, who are capable and have experience from the back tees,” Small said. “Given what ‘T’ and Brady have done at a young age in the last two club championship tournaments, you can’t rule them out.
“Skip Small is also in the club championship field and he’s been in the running for the title before, so he will be a factor,” Small said.
Small said the key for taking the title is consistent play.
“You have to be steady and you have to stay away from the big numbers, which can put you behind and in a bad spot,” he said. “Keep an even keel and try to avoid a bad hole.
“Right now the course is playing short due to little rain and it being dry,” he said. “The golfers are getting a lot of roll on their shots.”
The club championship, which has 13 in the regular field, includes the seniors, 50-over, and super seniors, 65-over.
The senior field features 10, with eight in the super senior field.
“We’ve got a good mix of golfers in contention for the club championship, so I look for a competitive tournament leading up to the final holes on Sunday afternoon,” Small said. “I think it will be interesting and it’s going to be a battle to the end.”