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Creed’s legacy will live on via tourney

Posted: May 16, 2013 1:57 p.m.
Updated: May 20, 2013 5:00 a.m.
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CAMDEN'S WILL HICKS HEADS up the local contingent entered into next weekend’s Creed Junior Boys Invitational.

In the days and weeks following the passing of Jimmy Creed Jr. last October, Camden County Club head professional, Matt McCarley, racked his brain as to what would be the most fitting tribute to his close friend and one of the club’s most popular members.
Then one day, while driving in his truck, the idea McCarley was looking for came to him. He quickly picked up his cell phone and called Jack Nance, executive director of the Carolinas Golf Association to pitch his idea. What McCarley envisioned was the Camden Country Club hosting a boys’ junior golf tournament to be played annually and, in Creed’s memory.
Nance, whose wife hails from Camden, wasted little time in giving the idea the green light from the CGA. Next up for McCarley was to sell the idea of the two-day junior tournament to members of the Camden Country Club. The proposal was a slam dunk as the CCC’s Board of Directors gave swift approval to the measure.
From that idea and a pre-Christmas phone call comes the inaugural Creed Junior Boys’ Invitational. The 36-hole event will begin with an afternoon round on Saturday, May 25 and close with 18 holes on Sunday morning. In between, there will be a dinner for all the players on Saturday while participants will also be presented with gifts to commemorate their playing in the tournament.
The event will be a 36-hole stroke play tournament for junior boy golfers between the ages of 13 through 18 who have not finished high school. There will be divisions for players ages 13-14, 15-16 and 17-18.
Proceeds from the tournament will go to a scholarship foundation to help children in Kershaw County. 
“The club had been trying to think of a way to honor Jimmy,” McCarley said of the origins of the hurriedly put-together event. “I kept thinking and thinking and, finally, it hit me one day that with the club’s association with the Carolinas Golf Association and my relationship with the CGA, in my having worked there after college, and with my dad (the late Joe McCarley) having worked for them, I thought it was a natural fit.”
The Creed Junior Boys’ Invitational will be the first annual junior tournament in the state of South Carolina to be run under the CGA  banner as well as the first event named after an individual.
Creed was a former junior champion at the Camden Country Club himself and, several years later, advanced to the semifinals of the CGA four-ball championship which is played annually over the Camden Country Club.
McCarley said the event is a fitting tribute to someone in whose life golf played a central role.
“Jimmy loved kids and loved following the junior golf program up here and always asked how they were doing,’ said the former Camden High and USC golf standout. “He was always willing to do whatever he could to help the program out.
“Jimmy was a good junior golfer. His son D.J. was a good junior golfer. I just think it’s a perfect fit for the club, the CGA and the Creed family in remembering Jimmy.”
Nearly as quickly as the event was announced, the 84-player field filled up. The top 25 junior players in both Carolinas gained exemptions into the tournament, should they have desired to play. Included among the list of players headed to the venerable Donald Ross-designed layout is South Carolina commitment and newly crowned AAA state individual champion Keenan Huskey, a rising senior at Greenville High.
Locally, Camden High School sophomore Will Hicks will play in the event. Hicks plays at number one for the Bulldogs, coached by McCarley. “Will should be one of the favorites,” McCarley said. “Will had been struggling, but he’s starting to play better.”
Also, CCC members Tyler Grey and Thomas Burke will play on their home course next weekend
“It’s a quality field and, I think it’s going to be a great tournament,” said McCarley who anticipates this being a “must see” tourney for area college coaches.
“We’ve always had amateur tournaments here before, like the four-ball, the state amateur and the Carolinas Amateur,” McCarley added, “but this will be the first time that we’ve ever had an annual junior tournament here where kids from both South Carolina and North Carolina will come to play in it.”
McCarley said he takes a lot of satisfaction in seeing how this tournament has come together. He said it is a fitting tribute to the Creed family, as a whole. Creed’s father, the late Jimmy Creed Sr., was a former member of the club who, like his son, was a beloved figure at the CCC as well as in the community as a whole.
As for the golf course itself, which underwent a facelift in 2012, next weekend’s tournament will provide a new signature event for golfers who may return to the course in the coming years.
“I think that it is great exposure as the younger generation will get familiar with the Camden Country Club,” McCarley said. “I know the members are excited about it. I know the Creed family is excited about it. It’s a pretty big deal. Anytime you have the CGA running a tournament, I think, it’s a compliment to the club.
“We’re going to try and make this the best junior golf tournament in North and South Carolina. I think it will only get better once the word gets out from kids and the parents who will be here next weekend.”

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