Atkinson rides wind, steady play in capturing record seventh City amateur golf title
By Charlie Morrison
While the conditions last weekend for the62nd annual Charleston Men’s Amateur Golf Championships were unpredictable, the outcome of the tournament was decidedly not. Though this year’s field was one of the strongest in recent memory and ‘the Muni,’ as the course is often referred to, was playing very difficult throughout the weekend, that didn’t stop Bert Atkinson from separating himself from the pack. With scores of 70 and 68, respectively, in the first and second rounds Atkinson, a six-time past winner of the event, carved himself out a two-stroke lead with Sunday’s round still to play. In the end, the best efforts of a competitive field of more than 190 golfers proved fruitless. Another windy day on Sunday contributed to a number of contenders falling off the pace, but not Bert Atkinson. The now seven-time City Amateur champion fired a final round score of 69, more than good enough to ensure Atkinson a comfortable 8-shot victory.
“It feels good at my age,” chuckles the 54-year-old Atkinson. Though elated, Atkinson’s tone turned to one of reverence in commenting on the 83-year-old course. “This tournament and this place is a complete representation of golf in Charleston, from A to Z.”
The weather played a story in the tournament throughout. Tropical Storm Alberto dumped five inches of rain on the course on Thursday evening, leaving the Muni’s grounds crews scrambling to prepare the course for play. Tournament officials considered shortening the 54-hole contest if the rain persisted, but thankfully it did not. The wind churned up by the storm did however persist throughout the three days, making things that much tougher on the field, save Atkinson. The former pro used the difficult conditions to his advantage.
While the weather persisted and more and more in the field faded from contention, Atkinson went on a two-and-a-half day bogeyless streak. By the time the weather finally cleared late Sunday evening, Atkinson had carded three birdies without a bogey in his final round. The back nine on Sunday was all but academic. Atkinson’s three-round score of 205 wasn’t to be bested that day.
Other tournament notables included, Jarrett Swan, who rode a final round score of 68 to win the tournament’s first flight, and finish second overall with a combined score of 213. Brian Phillips’ combined 214 netted him a solo third-place showing. First flight runner-up John Assey, championship flight third place finisher Matt Laydon and second flight winner Lushen each managed a share of fourth place with a combined score of 215.