PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Trevor Phillips and his younger brother Trent haven’t played much competitive golf together.
Trevor, 20, is two years older than Trent, so they didn’t even become high school teammates at Boiling Springs High until Trevor was a junior. The next year, after winning a state title together, Trevor (photo above) tore his left anterior cruciate ligament and was unable to compete as a senior. And for the past two years, Trevor has been in college, at the University of Georgia, while Trent has morphed into a star on the national junior golf circuit.
“It’s been three or four years really since we’ve been on the same team or played any kind of big tournament together,” Trent said.
That is beginning to change, though. The Phillips boys each qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach with both making it to the second round of match play. And in less than a month, they will be teammates again, at Georgia.
“I’m so glad that he’s coming to Georgia,” Trevor said. “It will be exciting. I’m expecting some big wins. Maybe even a national championship.”
Trevor tore his ACL eight months before he was supposed to start college. The injury affected his golf and Trevor’s first season with the Bulldogs was a struggle. He made the lineup seven times, including at SECs and NCAA regionals, but he never finished better than T-25.
At the same time, Trent was starting to make a name for himself on the AJGA. He won the 2017 Haas Family Invitational and ended up earning Rolex AJGA first-team All-America honors last November.
Trent grew up playing golf with his brothers – Trevor and now-15-year-old Zach – at Woodfin Ridge Golf Club and didn’t beat his older brother until he was 16 years old. But suddenly, Trent was experiencing more success.
“He passed me and I’ve just been trying to catchup ever since,” Trevor said.
Not that the brothers are overly competitive with each other. Trent might be a “bulldog” according to his dad, Brian, wanting to beat everyone in anything – golf, ping pong, tennis. But when it comes to Trevor, things are different.
“They’re competitive, but they really love each other,” Brian Phillips said. “They have a tight bond. Trevor is pulling hard for Trent. Same with Trevor.”
Trent is considered now to be the more promising golfer. He’s smaller than the 6-foot-1 Trevor but hits it just as far. His short game is a little better, and he makes more putts.
But in the past year, Trevor has lessened the gap. He played in all 12 tournaments for the Bulldogs as a sophomore and notched six top-15 finishes.
“His injury set him back at least a year,” Brian Phillips said. “His golf game was not sharp when he started school, but Trevor has made leaps and bounds in the two years he’s been at Georgia.”
Qualifying for the U.S. Amateur validated Trevor’s improvement. For Trent to be joining him at iconic Pebble Beach, that made the accomplishment extra special.
Trent didn’t bring his best golf to the Monterey Peninsula, but with Zach on the bag he grinded out two even-par rounds to make the Round of 64. Trevor, who had his dad as his caddie, opened with a sparkling 68 at Spyglass Hill before sneaking into match play with a 78 at Pebble Beach.
The U.S. Golf Association accepted 7,463 entries for this year’s U.S. Amateur. Three-hundred-and-twelve golfers qualified for the championship, including two sets of brothers – the Phillips boys and the Meissner brothers, McClure and Mitchell.
But Trevor and Trent were the only brothers to get to match play, and the first brothers to do so since Graham and Matt Hill in 2008. And they each won a match, as well.
So even though Trevor and Trent saw their U.S. Amateur hopes dashed in the Round of 32 – Trevor to Isaiah Salinda, 5 and 4, and Trent to William Mouw in 20 holes – they realize just how fortunate of a week they had.
“This has been a great week,” Trevor said. “And I’m sad it had to end early.”
Luckily, both will be back at Pebble Beach soon. Georgia opens its season at the Carmel Cup next month, and both Phillips brothers will be in the Bulldogs’ lineup thanks to their U.S. Amateur performances. Gwk