Sumter Golf Set to Host 20th Magnolia Invitational Monday

When Sumter High golf coach Jeff Schaffer first arrived in the town of Gamecock, he wanted to host a premier golf tournament in the area.

In its first season, Schaffer created the Magnolia Invitational. Twenty years later, the tournament is still going strong. The annual tournament returns to Beech Creek Golf Club on Monday.

“When I came here, we didn’t have a lot of tournaments for the boys. We had a lot of games, but these kids aren’t recruited out of games. They get recruited out of tournaments,” Schaffer said of departure. the Magnolia invite.

The Magnolia Invitational is different from other high school tournaments. Typically, teams have five golfers and the top four scores count towards the final count. In the Magnolia Invitational, there are four golfers from each school, and the top three make up the team score.

“As of early spring, your roster is not set yet,” Schaffer said. “It actually speeds up the tournament. We can line them up and take them out.”

The tournament was immediately successful, although it had gone through a number of iterations since 2002. Schaffer wanted it to be a premier event, so there were often big prizes awarded to winners and more competition. small for things like the longest ride or a hole to fight. for the shot closest to the pin.

The South Carolina High School League has since limited giveaways, but Schaffer still wants to reward players for competition.

“The most important thing is our sponsors. I can’t say enough about everything Beech Creek has done to help us do this,” Schaffer said. “You have to have a golf course that is ready to help the kids, and they went above and beyond that.

“And our other sponsors, Ping Golf, Titleist, Bridgestone, when you get the quality of vendors who are willing to spit a little for the kids, it’s really nice for the players.”

There will be 22 teams competing in the two-day tournament, with the first tee time set at noon each day. Golfers will play 36 holes.

“We’ve got some pretty decent teams playing there this year,” Schaffer said. “I wouldn’t say there’s one team that stands out in front of everyone. It’s going to be quite a competitive field.”

Sumter has a young team this year with a pair of sophomores, an eighth-grader and a junior participating in this week’s tournament. This will give these young players a chance to learn how to compete with some of the best South Carolina has to offer.

“Every tournament you play – no matter what level of competition you play – even in the pros, you’ll have butterflies in your stomach. The guys who are playing in more and more tournaments, they kind of know how to get over that,” Schaffer said. “For these kids to play in this tournament, it should help us develop as a team before we get into the regional tournament and hopefully the state tournament. “

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