SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Dan McCarthy has plenty of reasons to enjoy walking the Deer Creek course at The Landings.
“I was kind of just telling my caddy, ‘Oh, I hit this shot in the final round last year to three feet and made birdie,’ and this and that,” McCarthy says of his practice round Wednesday. “It’s definitely nice to have some good memories come back for sure.”
McCarthy has many of those.
The Syracuse, NY native claimed his first career Korn Ferry Tour victory at the 2019 Savannah Golf Championship, something that has made the Hostess City and Skidaway Island a very nice place to visit.
“I’ve loved this place the last two years. I’m a little biased,” he jokes. “I just really enjoy being out here, playing this course, and just being in the Savannah area in general. I’ve always loved it here.”
Part of that love comes from the way his game fits the Deer Creek course. McCarthy jokes he doesn’t hit the ball long enough for many of the bunkers to come into play off the tee.
It was his putter that won him the tournament here a year ago, and McCarthy says the flat stick is still his best weapon as he tries to defend that title.
At the 2019 Savannah Golf Championship, McCarthy posted his best putting average of the season (1.604 putts per green) en route to the title. He says the greens may play a little differently with the tournament being played in October instead of March/April, but he still feels confident in his ability to play them.
“I was reading the greens great all day [Wednesday]. Last year, my putting was the difference. I made a ton of putts,” McCarthy says. “So it was nice to see that I’m still seeing the greens as well as I did last year.”
In just its third year, no one has repeated as Savannah Golf Champion. But McCarthy feels he has a chance to play well and put himself in position to be the first back-to-back winner.
“I’m definitely confident going into the week. But a lot of good things have to happen along with playing well in order to win,” McCarthy says. “I’m not going to stand up here and say I’m going to win 100 percent for sure. I’m going to go out and compete and try to do my best to repeat."
McCarthy tees off his 2020 Savannah Golf Championship run at 12:35 Thursday afternoon. He’ll go off the first tee with Scott Langley and Tommy Gainey.