COLUMBIA, SC (Jan. 18, 2024) – December of 2023 marked the end of the inaugural year of the SCJGA Players Series, a yearlong tournament series to give junior golfers in South Carolina the opportunity to earn their way into future Major Championships conducted by the SCJGA. 15 Players Series tournaments were conducted in 2023, with points compiled and awarded based on tournament finishes from each Players Series event over the past year.


The SCJGA is proud to announce  Ella Kate Barnett  of Galivants Ferry and  Garrett Gillespie  of Williamston as the Players Series Champions for 2023. Both Players Series Champions have been awarded exemptions into the 2024 installment of SCJGA Major Championships such as the Sea Pines Junior Heritage, the Congaree Match Play, the Blade Junior Classic, the Beth Daniel Junior Azalea, and many other notable SCJGA Major Championships.


Ella Kate Barnett ’s consecutive championship season was yet again a model of consistency, as the class of 2026 member claimed five Players Series victories and never finished outside of the top-five in a single tournament. Barnett first secured the top spot for the yearlong race with a victory at Cherokee National in April. From thereon, her lead would continue to grow with victories at Cheraw State Park, Myrtle Beach National, Wyboo Golf Club, and The Rick Vieth Junior Four Ball. The Galivants Ferry native finished 2023 with a scoring average of 75.13 in all Players Series tournaments.


Graniteville’s  Karsyn Herron  claimed runner-up honors in the girls 13-18 Players Series Point Standings, and  Allie Thomas  of Aiken finished in third place. Herron and Thomas will also receive exemptions into 2024 Major Championships, thanks to their high finishes on the Players Series point standings in 2023.


Garrett Gillespie  carded eight rounds under-par in the 2023 Players Series en route to a 74.21 stroke average. The Williamston native earned two victories, Myrtle Beach National CC in July, and Darlington CC in September, to go along with 6 top-ten finishes in 2023. The 2025 graduate’s Players Series Championship came down to the final tournament of the year, the New Year’s Eve One Day at Lake Marion GC, where only 39 points separated Gillespie and points Runner-Up  Luke Johnson  of North Augusta. Gillespie would go on to secure his Players Series Championship at Lake Marion GC by 12 points, earning his exemption into the 2024 installment of SCJGA Major Championships.


The top-eight finishers in the boys 13-18 Players Series point standings have gained exemptions to compete in select SCJGA Major Championships.


Behind Gillespie, the top-eight finishers are runner-up  Luke Johnson  (North Augusta),  Casey Kosney  (Spartanburg),  Carson Jordan  (Conway),  Benjamin Sanders  (Taylors),  Erik Erlenkeuser  (Anderson),  Brennan Kelly  (Greer), and  Andrew Baxley  (Awendaw).


About the SCJGA Players Series


In February of 2022, the South Carolina Junior Golf Association announced a brand-new tournament series called the Players Series that is designed to give junior golfers from South Carolina the opportunity to develop their skills and earn exemptions into future Major Championships hosted by the SCJGA. The Players Series began with the Fripp Island Junior Challenge in early February and contested 15 different tournaments by the end of 2022.


All Players Series events are included in the Heritage Classic Foundation Rankings, as well as the year-long Players Series points standings, which will reward players with exemptions into future SCJGA Major Championships based on the standings at the conclusion of the year. All Players Series events are included in the year-long points race, as well as all statewide SCJGA One-Days such as the President’s Day One Day.


About the South Carolina Junior Golf Association


The purpose of the South Carolina Junior Golf Association is to continue the history and traditions of the ancient game of golf through its members and an active outreach to the youth of our state.   Established in 1990 by community leaders with a love for the game and a commitment to passing on golf’s heritage to the youth of South Carolina, the SCJGA is committed to meeting the needs of all young people in the state and providing playing opportunities to boys and girls that might not otherwise have the chance to experience golf and its many benefits. Through affordable opportunities of play, instruction and competition, juniors of all ages, walks of life and skill levels will be touched by the character of the game. It helps to teach them honor, sportsmanship and respect and makes them better prepared to face the challenges ahead in life.


For more information about the South Carolina Junior Golf Association, visit



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