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Pursuit of $25,000 prize isn’t as easy as it seems

In my best Sammy Sosa voice, this weekend, the grand Scottish game of golf was “velly, velly goot to me.”
I didn’t pass Q-school, nor did I snare an autograph of Tiger Woods. I guess you could call it my version of the “Alan Slam.”
On Friday night, my wife, Alecia, suggested we make our annual trek to Clarksville for the St. Anthony’s Church summer picnic, which features food, music, games and booths where anything from groceries to potted plants to toys or cakes and scented candles can be had with a lucky spin of the wheel.
This year, the church held a putting contest fund-raiser. Participants received six balls for $5. For each 10-foot putt that was made, their name went into a drawing. Twenty-five names — 10 from Friday night and 15 from Saturday — were then drawn from all the putting gurus, and they advanced to the final round Sunday at Wooded View.
In that round, participants had to make 10-, 30-, and 50-foot putts for a grand prize of … $25,000!
My step-father, Pat, and I tried our hands. I made three of six putts on the green carpet while Pat dropped home one (he returned Saturday and made a couple more).
When I got home on Saturday afternoon, after having played in the Corydon Central High School football golf scramble here, Alecia told me that my name had been pulled and I should report to Wooded View on Sunday.
I showed up wearing my dog-chewed golf glove (don’t ask) with a Pal Joey putter and a recently fished-from-a-pond Titleist Pro-V1 in hand. I looked for any markings that could help me on the hole I’d be shooting on at Wooded View’s practice green.
After locating the correct pin, I tried no less than 75 putts at the left-to-right wobbler, missing many more than I made.
At 2 p.m., we all signed in and waited for our names to be called.
One by one, young, old and all ages in between stepped up to the green and failed to sink the first putt. Most were simply off line while a couple hit too hard (hitting the back edge of the cup and bouncing away).
Through 19 attempts, no one had hit it.
My name was called.
I pretty much knew the proper line of the teaser, so speed or grounding the club on the forward swing were the only factors that would determine whether I would move on or join the other folks who came up short.
I placed the ball on the turf, took a couple of practice swings and suddenly realized that about 40 folks all had their eyes on me.
“So this is what it’s like to be in the final group at the Old Cap or Invitational,” I thought.
After taking a couple of deep breaths, I drew the putter back and struck the ball perfectly. With each revolution that was completed, I lifted the putter (a la Jack Nicklaus in the Masters many years ago), pumped my fist (a la Tiger Woods on any lengthy putt), and let a sigh of relief as the sphere found its mark in the bottom of the cup. The crowd — all 40 of them — roared. So this is how it feels to win a PGA tourney!
Unfortunately, Pat missed his shot wide left, so four folks were left to challenge me for the $25,000 check. As it turned out, Bill Wessels of Memphis, Ind., was the only other hacker to hit the shot.
Neither of us came even remotely close to knocking home the 30-footer (my attempt broke the cardinal rule of “Never up, never in” by about eight feet), but we still got consolation prizes: Bill got four rounds at Wooded View; I got a $30 gift certificate to Sam’s Tavern in New Albany.
Some might see going 1-3 as failure, but batting .333 will probably get you into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
— If that wasn’t enough fun for the weekend, I’d like to thank Derek Barrett of Borden, Ted Mills of Georgetown, Israel Temple of New Salisbury, and Steve Temple of Elizabeth for allowing me to join their team at the Corydon Central Football Golf Scramble on Saturday.
We didn’t win with our total of 9-under (the Indiana Utilities’ group of Kerry Zimmerman, Michael Uhl, Frank Czeschin, Billy Hollingsworth and Gary (Ace) Wood took top honors at 14-under), but we had an interesting day nonetheless.
One of the highlights included Mills topping a ball 15 yards on No. 9 and giving his King Cobra graphite 3-iron the heave-ho — approximately 25 yards and into a pond along the left side of the fairway. I won’t even begin to tell the tale of how he retreived the club.
A neat feature of the scramble came on hole No. 12, where players had to “tee” off with a football on a kicking tee. The team then passed the football from where it had stopped rolling and from that spot would punt the ball. Players then teed up a golf ball from that position for their first shot on the par-5 hole. It was a nice touch and gave many folks quite a chuckle (Matt Schneider’s golf shoe probably went further than his punt).

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