Of the 96 amateur golfers vying for the Dogwood Invitational trophy, two are locked into a rivalry that runs deeper than the tournament.
Trevor and Trent Phillips have been playing alongside each other since they were 9 and 7 years old, respectively, and grew up on the greens after their father, Brian, built their home on a golf course. The brothers are separated by one stroke after three rounds.
Though Trevor has two years of collegiate golf experience under his belt as a rising junior at the University of Georgia, 18-year-old Trent currently has the edge at the Druid Hills tournament, tied for 27th with a score of 4-under 212 after three rounds.
The Inman, South Carolina natives have been neck and neck with each other all throughout their careers. Trent was a natural, but Trevor caught up with a little more practice. Then a snowboarding accident that resulted in a torn ACL sidelined Trevor for the entirety of his senior season at Boiling Springs High School. While he was recovering, Trent progressed quickly and surpassed his brother. The siblings feel like they are on even ground now, but the drive to come out on top hasn’t faded at all.
“I want to beat him. I want to beat him straight into the ground,” Trevor said when asked how he felt about playing against his younger brother, though Trent was confident he would finish ahead this week.
The two were joined by their dad and younger sibling, Zach, who served as caddies during the tournament. Trevor paired with his father, as he usually does when he wants to take things a little more seriously, while Trent partnered with their 15-year-old brother.
“(Zach’s) fun to be around, and even if you’re not playing that great, we still have a good time on the course,” Trent said.
The two shared laughs out on the greens as Zach provided some much-needed comic relief when the pressure was on.
“He makes you laugh in between shots, but he doesn’t get mad at you after the bad shots. That’s really all you need in a caddie,” Trevor said, adding that Brian also kept morale up on the course. “Pops is good at keeping me positive. I’ve been really negative this week on the greens, and he’s kind of tried to help me with that. … He tries to let me realize that it can go better. It’s hard to realize that sometimes when things aren’t going your way, but it can turn around.”
And turn around it did as Trevor shot his lowest round of the tournament Friday afternoon, going 3 under with a 69. Three birdies on the front nine and two on the back helped the oldest Phillips brother secure a spot above the cut and into the final round Saturday. Trent matched his brother’s total birdies, but bogeyed on the ninth hole after taking an extra shot because of a lost ball. He bounced back on the final four holes to finish 2 under par.
With one final day left of the Dogwood Invitational, the Phillipses will try to improve their standings from last year, 33rd for Trevor and 14th for Trent, and shoot for spots in the top 15. Trevor noted that this year has been a bit more difficult because of firmer greens and harder pins.
The sibling rivalry will persist as Trent and Trevor face off again Saturday in the fourth round of the invitational, but it doesn’t end there. Trent will follow in his brother’s footsteps and attend UGA in the fall, where the brothers surely will continue to battle over who claims the title of best golfer in the family.