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Junior golfers make a bee line for Creed Invitational

Weekend tournament fills up all 90 spaces in just 30 minutes

Posted: May 26, 2016 3:45 p.m.
Updated: May 27, 2016 1:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy of the CGA/

WAKE FOREST SIGNEE Eric Bae will return to Camden this weekend to defend his title in the fourth annual Creed Invitational to be played at the Camden Country Club.

Like online tickets for a rock concert, when online registration for the Creed Boys’ Invitational golf tournament at the Camden Country Club opened earlier this spring, the available spaces were gobbled up in some 30 minutes.

While being a tribute to the late Camden resident, Jimmy Creed, in whose memory the event is played, it also speaks to the popularity of the fourth annual event and the golf course over which it is contested.

For Matt McCarley, the head professional at the Camden Country Club and a longtime friend of Jimmy Creed and the Creed family, the biggest problem facing the two-day, 36-hole event which will be played this weekend starting with Saturday’s opening round, is figuring out ways to expand the wildly popular event.

“I don’t think anybody expected this tournament to be as popular as it has now become,” McCarley said of the tourney which is conducted by the Carolinas Golf Association and is limited to 90 players. “In the first year that we had this tournament, we didn’t know what to expect in terms of which players would show up for it. 

“A lot of the reason for the success of the event is because the Camden Country Club is such a special place. People love to play our course and now, a whole new generation of players is being introduced to our course. It’s a very unique place.”

McCarley said in just three playings of the tournament, it has become one of the top junior events in the Carolinas with junior golfers from both the Palmetto State and North Carolina circling this weekend on their calendars. Already, he said, players from North Carolina have come to town to play a practice round in preparation for this weekend.

Being the hotbed of golf which the Carolinas has become, McCarley said some of the top juniors golfers in the country will be testing their skills over the challenging 6,455-yard layout which was redesigned in the late 1920s by master golf course architect Donald Ross before undergoing a facelift to modernize portions of the course in 2012 under the supervision of Kris Spence.

Returning to defend his title which he won last spring with a two-day, even par 140 will be Eric Bae of Pinehurst, N.C.  The Wake Forest signee is coming off a second-place finish in the North Carolina 4A state championship tournament.

From the Palmetto State, Pelion’s Caleb Proveaux, a University of South Carolina signee, returns to Camden. Proveaux and his brother Cody qualified for the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club. Caleb advanced to the match play round of 32 at the 2015 U.S. Amateur and won The Blade Junior Classic.

Jack Parrott, a rising senior at Heathwood Hall in Columbia and a USC verbal commitment, had top-10 finishes last year in the SCGA Junior and Carolinas Junior championships.

Closer to home, Camden Country Club member Tyler Gray of Lugoff, comes into the the weekend fresh off winning the SCISA state individual title as a sophomore at Thomas Sumter Academy.

Players will compete in three age divisions; 13-14, 15-16 and 17-18.

McCarley, who doubles as the head golf coach at Camden High School, his alma mater, will have four of his players playing in the 13-14-year-old group. For Bulldog golfers Wills Kelly, Evan Younghans, Patrick Lindsay and David Bishop, this will be their biggest test in an individual tournament. McCarley hopes this weekend will whet the appetite of his young quartet of players.

“I talked to our guys about this tournament and I want them to see what’s out there in terms of golf talent in the Carolinas,” said the former golf captain at USC. 

“I think playing in this tournament will be an eye-opener for our guys and, hopefully, they can win this tournament one day.”

Of all the events which the Camden Country Club plays host to on a yearly basis, this tournament is the one which hits home with McCarley. He said the membership at the club rallies around the event which honors Jimmy Creed, one of the most popular figures at the club until his death in October of 2012.

“Creedy just loved kids,” McCarley said. “When all of my friends and I were coming up and when we were about 13 or 14 years old, Creedy would come on the course and play rounds of golf with us and help us.

“Jimmy was very generous and very supportive with our golf program, especially our junior golf program here at the club. I think this tournament is a good way of honoring his memory. And we are real happy that the Creed family has really gotten behind this event.”



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