It’s been quite the summer for Smith Knaffle.
To go along with qualifying for the U.S. Girls’ Junior and Girls Junior PGA championships, as well as an invitation to the Big ‘I’ National Championship, the local standout’s recent roll continued Monday — though without the need of her trusty putter.
The St. James rising junior verbally committed to play women’s golf at South Carolina on Monday.
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“Super excited to announce that I have verbally committed to the University of South Carolina! #gococks,” she tweeted.
In addition to making quite the splash on the state junior golf scene, Knaffle has led her St. James team to consecutive state championships. In each tournament, she earned medalist honors.
Her most recent performance this past week landed her a spot in the 69th U.S. Girls’ Junior tournament, set to take place July 24-29 at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo. During a local qualifier, Knaffle shot a 2-over 74 to tie for fifth with Baylee Evans of Lancaster, earning one of five tickets to the event by prevailing with a par on the second hole of a playoff.
Yet, with such a solid resume the area standout said she was starting to feel the weight of a potential decision.
“It was actually pretty stressful at times,” Knaffle said. “I’m just glad to know I know where I’m going to school.
“The best part of it is now I can wear my Gamecocks stuff, and just go out and play.”
Among those in the running for her services were Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Furman and Virginia Tech. However, growing up a fan of South Carolina proved too tough to pass up.
“My dream was to play for South Carolina, I’ve always been a Gamecocks fan,” Knaffle said. “All of the schools were really nice, and presented a lot of the qualities I desired.
“But it came down to wanting to be close to home. Carolina is about two hours away, so it is perfect.”
With her big decision out of the way, Knaffle said it will feel good to simply go out and play.
“I’ve been playing well this summer, hopefully the good times continue,” she said.