The hottest hands holding a club on the Carolinas Golf Association’s tour have a Mooresville address.
Steve Harwell not only protected but also enhanced his preferred position atop the impressive leaderboard in the third and final round to fashion a wire-to-wire finish in the 34th annual North Carolina Senior Amateur Golf Championship conducted by the CGA.
“Word’s can’t even begin to describe it,’’ said Harwell, who collected the first individual CGA title of his amateur golfing career. “I’ve got several seconds in just about ever Carolinas event, but first is what you want. I finally got one. It’s just a great relief and accomplishment to do just that.”
The from-start-to-finish effort put forth out on the Bermuda Run Country Club course over the span of three days and 54 holes of competitive stroke play extended a current near career-best such surge.
Earlier this spring, he partnered with a teammate to capture the CGA’s Carolinas Four-Ball Championship crown for his second team-related title. The win in the prestigious N.C. Senior Amateur is his first secured on an individual basis.
Following a first-round score of three-under-par 69 that served to set Harwell at the top of the opening-round leaderboard, he backed that performance up with a round-two tally of one-over-par 73 that still secured him a one-shot edge over the next-best entry in the field.
Then, during the course of third and final round play, a major swing – literally – in the proceedings just past the midway mark of the round shifted the momentum completely in Harwell’s direction.
After breaking a tie for the top spot with a par at the 11th hole, he selected a sand wedge to cover the remaining distance needed on his approach shot to the par-four 13th green. Harwell landed the shot some five feet past the flagstick. It then spun back and went into hole for a rare eagle two.
“That was a big swing there,’’ said Harwell. “I started to feel like I was in a good place. I wasn’t scoreboard watching. I was just trying to stay in the moment and hit solid shots.”
Mission accomplished on all accounts.
Harwell was then able to put his tee shot to some seven feet from the hole on the par-three 16th hole. After making the birdie putt, he increased his cushion to six shots over his nearest competitor with just two holes left to play.
“I finally looked (at the leaderboard) after I hit the 18th green,’’ said Harwell, “and saw I had a pretty big lead. At that point, I knew it was going to work out.”
Bermuda Run Country Club’s East Course proved to be quite the challenge for the entire field. As a result, champion Harwell was the only golfer in the field to finish the event under par. He finished at three-under-par 213 to take top medalist honors by that final six-stroke margin over the eventual second-place finisher.
It served to extend quite a month of play indeed for the newly crowned CGA N.C. Senior Am champ. In addition to his now two recent CGA titles, Harwell was also able to win the Senior Division title at the Seminole Golf Club’s prestigious Coleman Invitational that took place in Florida.
There’s even more in the works.
Harwell now has his sights set on the United States Amateur scheduled to take place later this year at the host Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham.
“I didn’t get to try last year because of a work commitment,’’ said Harwell, “and it was my first year eligible. I’ve played there quite a few times, and I’d love to be in field.”