Local Golf Notes

Shealy focus of incredible shots

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bspear@thestate.comFebruary 3, 2013 

The poet who wrote the famous line “Water, water, everywhere....” could have been referring to the Plantation Course at Edisto, and the wise golfer who tackles one of the state’s hidden gems prepares by adding extra balls to his bag.

Call Kirby Shealy the exception. He hits his shot and picks the ball out of the hole.

Of course, the gods of golf have a way of getting even.

Leland Vaughan, general manager at the Plantation Course, notes that many interesting things happen on the golf course each week, and Shealy’s streak in 2012 qualifies. He might be the first golfer to offer to pay his playing partner NOT to tell if he made a hole-in-one.

A Columbia magistrate, Shealy’s 2012 rounds at the Plantation Course include two aces, another tee shot into the hole after his first landed in a water hazard, and yet another that stopped four inches from the cup.

“Sheer luck,” said Shealy, who now has four holes-in-one to his credit. He has aced No. 15 at Forest Lake, his home club, and he started his Plantation streak in 2008 on No. 6, the course’s hole with an island green. Then came 2012.

Early in the year, a gust of wind caught his tee shot on No. 6 and the ball plunged into the water. Hitting his third from the tee, his shot found the hole for an unlikely par. In November, he put his 6-iron tee shot into the hole on No. 6, then three weeks later aced No. 12. There’s more: In his next round, his tee shot on No. 12 stopped four inches behind the hole.

“The last one cost me $160 in the bar,” he said and laughed. “That next round, I told them if I made a hole-in-one today, I’d give them $50 not to tell.”

A day later, what Vaughan calls “the Pelican Jinx” nailed Shealy on the 14th fairway. The bird made a direct hit from about 50 feet.

“The smell!” he said. “I used to like sardines. I cleaned up the best I could on the course, but when we finished, the guys I played with just waved instead of coming over to shake hands.”

Not to be outdone, wife Jenny has an ace to her credit, making her hole-in-one on No. 8 at Forest Lake.

“I’m just a weekend player who had a good run while it lasted,” said Shealy, who has a 13 handicap. “I’d love to have another streak ... but without the same (pelican) ending.”

Pettersson defends

Carl Pettersson will defend his title in the RBC Heritage, and he will be joined in the 45th annual event by six other past champions who have made early commitments.

Two-time winners Boo Weekley (2007, ’08) and Stewart Cink (2000, ’04) plus Brandt Snedeker (2011), Jim Furyk (2010), Justin Leonard (2002) and Glen Day (1999) will be in the field for the April 18-21 event at Sea Pines’ Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.

Daily tickets and weeklong badges are on sale online at www.rbcheritage.com or by calling (843) 671-2448.

Chip shots

The Golfweek Amateur Tour opens Saturday at the Members Club at WildeWood. The tour is open to men and women of all skill levels with competition broken down into flights according to handicap index. Seventeen events are scheduled. Call John Livoti (866-918-4653) or go to www.amateurgolftour.net. ...

Division winners in the SCGA’s Tournament of Champions: Walter Todd (Laurens, men), Jonathan Evans (Hollywood, senior club), Mims Liner (Irmo, one-day gross), Jim Martin (Columbia, one-day senior) and Natalie Huff (Elgin, women). ...

BMW Pro-Am qualifying is Tuesday at the Thornblade Club in Greer. The Web.com Tour event is set for May 16-19.

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