A brutal defeat in a playoff made the bitter weather at the Sea Pines Resort even more difficult to bear for PJ Maybank at the 2021 Sea Pines Junior Heritage, but a blistering 3-under-par 68 and the opportunity to hoist the trophy that evaded him a year ago made Sunday’s blustery conditions a bit more bearable.
Maybank carded an incredible round in difficult conditions — to say the least — at Harbour Town Golf Links, overtaking first-round leader Jackson Byrd and coasting to a five-shot win to kick off the 2022 junior golf season. Macy Pate of Winston-Salem, N.C., won the girls title by three shots.
After being the first man out of a three-way playoff a year ago, Maybank kept himself in contention again this year with a 1-over-par 73 at Atlantic Dunes on Saturday, keeping him within two shots of Byrd’s overnight lead. With one birdie and one bogey on a steady front nine, the Cheboygan, Mich., native took charge on the back, making back-to-back birdies at Nos. 12 and 13 before adding one more at the par-5 15th and finishing with three pars on a difficult closing stretch.
“Today was great,” Maybank said. “The weather was brutal, so shooting 68 makes this one of the best rounds I’ve ever played for sure. This win feels great. To shoot 3-under on the back nine in some of the toughest tournament conditions I’ve ever played in was pretty clutch and feels really good.”
Byrd, whose father, Jonathan, recorded a top-10 at Pebble Beach on Sunday, claimed solo second in the boys division, posting 3-over-par 146, while Phillip Dunham and Greenville’s William Jennings tied for third at 4-over.
Pate had a share of the lead after shooting 1-over 73 at Atlantic Dunes, and a steady round of 4-over 75 at Harbour Town was enough to seal the deal in difficult conditions. A birdie at the par-4 third hole helped Pate navigate the front nine in 1-over, and after a double-bogey hiccup at No. 11, she strung together six solid pars on the back before a harmless bogey at the last.
“I was really just trying to make as many pars as I could because the weather was so tough,” Pate said. “Today’s weather conditions were the toughest conditions I’ve ever played in, but I just tried to put it out of my mind and play some golf. It feels really good to win because these are two really difficult courses with so much history. It’s a great feeling to get a win so early into 2022.”
Nicole Nash of Charlotte and Emerson Blair of West Point, Miss., tied for second place, each carding 8-over-par 151. Hilton Head Prep standout Camila Burnett led the Lowco contingent, tying for eighth at 12-over.