Thursday, July 28, 2011

Area golf: 9-year-old holes 2nd ace in 19 days

Normally, I don't like to write about the same subject in back-to-back columns, but there's nothing normal about the recent golfing exploits of Spence Wilson III.
Spence, you see, made two holes-in-one in a span of 19 days.
And he's only nine.
In my last column I told you about Gene Berry of Bartlett not only making an ace on his first swing of the day at The Links of Galloway but also that he shot his age. The odds on making an ace are said to be one in 33,000. The odds of a 9-year old making two aces in 19 days have got to be way, way off the chart.
Spence, the son of Spence and Stephanie Wilson and the great grandson of Kemmons Wilson, is part of the junior golf program at Memphis Country Club, where he comes under the tutelage of head golf professional Tim Rush and his assistant, and Spence's coach, Drew Cain. "He and Drew have really worked well together," Spence Jr. said of his son's training sessions with Cain.
Ace No. 1 came on July 1 at the Orgins Golf Club's Par 3 course in Rosemary Beach, Fla., when Spence hit a 7-iron flush from 96 yards. The ball landed about four feet in front of the hole, took one hop, rolled a little to the left, hit the pin and as his dad says, "disappeared" into the hole. Spence's dad and first cousin, Ben Cox, witnessed the shot.
"The sun had begun to set and was at our backs so we couldn't have asked for a better seat to see the event unfold," said Spence's dad. "Well, we all went nuts. Spence actually looked at me then fell backwards like the Nestea plunge onto the tee box."
As for ace No 2, it occurred during the first round of a U.S. Junior Golf Tournament on July 19 at Windyke Country Club (Spence's first "official" tournament outside of a club event). Using a driver, the hole-in-one came on Windyke's Par 3 Course and measured 147 yards. The shot was witnessed by playing partner, Cade Jones, along with Cade's dad and grandfather.
"Cade's dad told me that he had never witnessed a hole-in-one but that the ball never left the flag after he hit it," said Spence's dad, who, along with his wife, Stephanie, encouraged their children, Spence and Olivia, 11, to be involved in a variety of activities/sports at an early age. In fact, Spence, who will be in the fourth grade at Presbyterian Day School (PDS) this fall, picked up his first club (60-degree wedge) when he was 11/2 years old.
Such wasn't the case for Spence's dad, who didn't start playing golf in earnest until he was in college. On Tuesday, he qualified for the Tennessee Golf Association Amateur with a round of 77 at Colonial Country Club, capping a banner golf month for the Wilson family.
In other notes
Stonebridge update: The irrigation project has been completed at Stonebridge Golf Course, according to John Wells, general manager at Stonebridge, Wedgewood and North Creek. "The greens have been enlarged and re-contoured," he said. "Sprigs went down on July 14. Everything looks good; they're green and growing already." The re-opening target date is Sept. 2, Wells said. "We feel optimistic about that. I think people are going to be happy with the finished product."
Let's talk football: The 17th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl Golf Classic is set for Monday at Ridgeway Country Club with shotgun starts at 7:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. As usual, the tournament will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. For additional information call (901) 795-7700. Among those scheduled to play are head football coaches Larry Porter (Memphis), Larry Fedora (Southern Miss), Kevin Sumlin (Houston), June Jones (SMU) and George O'Leary (UCF), along with athletic directors Bubba Cunningham (Tulsa), Scott Stricklin (Mississippi State) and Pete Boone (Ole Miss).
Good for you: The Infiniti team of Rob Walker, Chad Tidwell, Ian Rochester and Steve Weldon shot 51 to claim the "cure" flight in the 10th annual Driving Home a Cure for PKD (polycystic kidney disease) tournament sponsored by Liberty Mutual at Windyke Country Club. Sean Black sank a 50-foot putt to win the Infiniti of Memphis-sponsored putting contest, which had a $5,000 prize, half going to the PKD Foundation and the other to Black. For their victory, the Infinity team earned a berth in the Liberty Mutual Invitational at Pinehurst (N.C.) Country Club in March 2012. The event raised $106,000 for research and education for polycystic kidney disease. ... The team of David Ozier, Parker Rhett, Blake Dickens and Gary Hinson claimed top honors in the annual Orphanos Golf Tournament at Spring Creek Ranch.


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