E.A. Sports Today

Ace in the crowd

Stevens scores first hole-in-one of this year’s SKCC; it was his first ace ever and came in front of a big crowd
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
SILVER LAKES – It’s one thing to get your first hole-in-one. It’s another thing to get it in the biggest tournament of the year. It’s another thing still to do all that with a big crowd watching.
Tommy Stevens Jr. got to experience all of that Saturday when he scored the first ace of his career in the second round of the Sunny King Charity Classic with a big crowd gathered on the eighth tee of Silver Lakes’ Heartbreaker 9.
Playing in a group with his father, Tommy Sr., Ken Howell and Brian Howell, and witnessed by several groups backed up at the tee, the 30-year-old Stevens holed a 9-iron from 149. It landed about three feet from the cup, inside the red circle drawn for another tournament promotion, and it tracked right to the hole.
“It was pretty cool,” Stevens said. “We’ve scared a couple but never had one. There were about three groups up there watching it. We got to give out about a dozen high-fives. There was a lot of whooping. I told them it would have been a shame to get one when you’re all alone, but it’s cool to do it front of a lot of people.”
Stevens, an Alexandria native who works as a database administrator in Albertville, didn’t play the target game being offered at the tee, but his ace did earn him a $500 gift card as a tournament hole-in-one prize.
The Stevens team shot 4-under-par 68 in the scramble at Silver Lakes Saturday and is tied for the lead in the Honda Pilot second flight at 8-under 134.
“It was just an average day out here,” he said. “Things looked bright back there on 17. That was the highlight.” 
4 FOR THE MONEY: Dustin Wilkins has a knack for winning things in drawings and his good fortune continued this weekend.
The 41-year-old Golden Springs resident was one of four Sunny King Charity Classic players drawn at random to take one of the big-money shots at the end of Sunday’s championship round at Anniston Country Club. He was picked for the long putt worth $25,000.
Where others have been a little nervous in the run-up to their attempt, Wilkins is confident.
“(Sunny King operations manager) Lynn Freeman called me and said I had the putt for $25,000,” Wilkins said. “I said how many have ever made it. She said zero. I said that ends tomorrow.”
Wilkins is always getting his name drawn out of a hat. He recalled a recent convention trip where he threw his business card into a drawing bowl sort of at the last minute and from 500 entries he won an Apple watch. Then, he won something else a few minutes later.
“I feel like the luckiest guy on earth,” he said. “This kind of stuff happens to me all the time.”
Another thing he has going for him is his putting has been hot lately, particularly his lag putting. That putter has helped him and partner Cale Wright shoot 144 after two rounds in the tournament.
“No matter what I’m going to walk it in like Tiger Woods,” he said. “I’ll put that putter in my left hand and I’m either going to die in agony or give it the fist pump.”
Three other players were drawn for big-money fairway shots. Barrett Waters, one of the Georgia mini-tour pros in contention in the Championship Flight, and Allan Mange were drawn for the $100,000 iron shots, while Steve Huber was drawn for a shot at a million.
“It is really cool to have the opportunity to hit a shot like that,” Waters said. “Out of all the tournaments I’ve played I’ve never had the chance to hole one for that kind of money. I’m going to give it my best shot.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login