The college freshman thing is new to Liam Shinn, who just arrived at South Carolina this fall. He’s already benefiting, though, and for proof of that, look no further than his Tuesday win at the Golfweek Carolina Country Club Amateur. Shinn turned a five-shot swing on the 14th hole of the final round into a four-shot win.
Shinn fired opening rounds of 70-73 and had ground to make up on 36-hole leader Joey McCarthy. Shinn was still trailing by the time the two, playing in the same group, reached the 14th hole. Shinn birdied it and McCarthy had a quadruple-bogey eight.
“After that I knew if I could keep making pars and maybe one more birdie, I could take the tournament,” Shinn said.
Scores: Golfweek Carolina CC Amateur
Instead he made two more birdies in his final four holes for a closing 69 that left him at 4 under. That was four better than Cameron Willis of Wittenberg University. Cincinnati’s McCarthy finished solo third at 1 over.
Shinn led twice in junior tournaments this summer, but wasn’t able to finish off either title. A lead sometimes gets in his head. On Tuesday, he was proud of the way he handled the back nine, and thinks the new college environment had something to do with that.
“It’s been really good. Even with COVID, I’ve been able to get a lot more practice in than back at home,” he said. For Shinn, that means hours spent at South Carolina’s facilities, the benefit of having 11 to push him and access to his college coaches.
COVID has had an impact on competition opportunities, but Shinn is happy easing in this way.
“The freshman experience I guess is a little bit different but I’m still enjoying it, being able to golf pretty much all day, every day.”
Specially, Shinn points to a drill that forces him to aim small with his approach shots into the greens at the Gamecock practice facility. Points are awarded based on where the ball lands.
“It was a simple drill, but I feel like that helped me a lot,” he said.
Shinn has plenty of time left to hone his game in Columbia, South Carolina. Just imagine the possibilities.