Growing up in Waycross, the golf course at Okefenokee Country Club is familiar to Scott Ferrell.
He’s had success on the course in the past. The 12-year St. Simons resident won the 1995 and 1999 Okefenokee Invitational. His string of successful amateur tournaments continued when he won the Golden Isles Invitational in 1995 and 2001. Now he’s added the 2017 Okefenokee Invitational to his list of accolades.
Ferrell seemed to be raking trophies after his 2001 Golden Isles Invitational. Then, he stopped playing golf all together. While he still made an effort to play in the Okefenokee and Golden Isles, his two favorite amateur events, he said he played about eight to 10 rounds per year for about a decade.
“I got to where I had the yips with chipping and putting so bad, I didn’t want to play anymore,” Ferrell said. “My kids got older, I needed to do something, and started to play a little more.”
He started playing golf more regularly roughly three years ago. Ironically, he thinks the time off may have helped those short-game woes that frustrated him in originally.
“I think most people would tell you the thing you lose (from time off) the most is your short game,” he said. “That’s kind of why I quit playing. I wasn’t good when I quit, and I’ve actually gotten better at it.”
When he returned to competitive golf, his expectations for his level of competition were relatively low. He said he felt like he could still play well, but competing in amateur tournaments would take a level of consistency Ferrell was uncertain he could match.
“(Younger players) are so much bigger and stronger, they play a different game than I can right now,” he said. “If we had been betting, I’d have been betting on one of them.”
The difference, Ferrell said, was Okefenokee’s speedy greens. Ferrell said that wrinkle in the course’s design is relatively new. In the past six to seven years, Ferrel said, adding touch to his putts has become more important when he plays Okefenokee.
Ferrell stayed consistent over the three-day event. He shot 73-69-75 to pull out the title.
“When par is a good score, the older guys have a chance,” he said.
Ferrell said he plans on competing in the Golden Isles Invitational at Brunswick Country Club in July.
Buchanan Miller, a Kansas City native who trains seasonally on Sea Island, emerged from the Brooks Brothers Open at Champions Run in Rockvale, Tenn., as the first place golfer in the Boys 16-18 age bracket.
Miller, 17, shot 78-39 to post an overall score of 117. He edged William Levinson of Ponte Vedra, Fla., by one stroke.
A weather delay cut the final round short, shortening the event to 27 holes, rather than 36.
“You could tell the weather was coming in, and the round was going to get cut,” Miller said. “You had to give it all you had on the front.”
The two were tied in the final round, and Miller led early at 2-under before the weather delay.
The Brooks Brothers Open is a Hurricane Golf Tour event. Miller, who has trained on Sea Island from June until August from the past four years, earned an invitation to the Tour Championship in December. It was his first win on the Hurricane Tour.