With an important pair of eyes on him, Rock Hill golfer Coble Panetti played one of the best nine-hole stretches of his golf life.
This was in June at “The Blade,” one of the top junior golf tournaments in South Carolina. Panetti played the back nine first, shooting 43, but Erskine’s coach Jason Allen came and watched the Bearcat play the front nine, in which he carded five birdies and finished with a 33.
“I think that was impressive to him,” Panetti. “Usually people struggle whenever they see the coaches, but I kept my cool and tried to make as many birdies as I could.”
Allen emailed Panetti shortly thereafter, and the Bearcats senior took a visit to the school in August and liked what he saw. On Wednesday morning, he signed his national letter of intent to play golf at Erskine.
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Panetti averaged 39.75 strokes per nine holes last season, with a low round of 32. He won the Stallion Invitational as well, and is currently ranked 31st in the South Carolina Junior Golf Association boys’ rankings, which include over 300 players.
Panetti knew an Erskine golfer, former Northwestern Trojan Tyler Lucas, and that sparked a connection. After his performance at The Blade and initial interaction with Allen, Panetti visited the school, located in the small town of Due West, near Greenwood.
“I had always been interested in going to a smaller school,” he said. “It really has a feel of a bigger school than it actually is. If you’re interested in a bigger school then that’s not the place to go, but I wasn’t looking for that.”
Academically, Panetti ranks in the top 10 percent of his class and he is considering majoring in business at Erskine. He feels good that he’s got his college decision, and scholarship, sewn up before the spring high school golf season.
“You still want to put pressure on yourself to perform because you want to be used to that feeling,” said Panetti. “But it’s nice after tournaments looking back, thinking ‘well, I’m already committed, it’s not that big of a deal.’ ”
Erskine finished last season ranked No. 8 in the NCAA Division II southeast region. The Flying Fleet will lose four players to graduation next season.
“I’m happy to fill that spot,” Panetti said with a smile.