Families might spend the Labor Day weekend with a backyard outing, a quick trip to the lake or a junket to the beach. The Stalveys have different plans; for the third time in four years, they will head north for the regional competition in the Drive, Chip and Putt competition.
In 2014, the Stalveys – dad Ryan, mom Nicole and daughters Parker and Ella – traveled from their Elgin home to Falls Church, Va. Parker made the trip more rewarding by winning her age group and advancing to the national finals at Augusta National Golf Club.
Last year’s trip went to Pinehurst, N.C., where Ella finished fifth in the regional. And the 2017 journey will be a repeat – Ella in the regional in Pinehurst next weekend.
Ella Stalvey joined 15 others who earned berths in the Drive, Chip and Putt regionals in the sub-regional competition Saturday at Fort Jackson Golf Club. A total of 144 players competed in eight age groups, and the top two in each division advanced.
Two others from the Midlands – Adam Hunt of Columbia in the boys’ 12-13 age group and Jonathon (Deuce) Nimmo of West Columbia in the boys’ 10-11 division – will join Ella (girls’ 12-13) in Pinehurst. One player from each age group will advance from Pinehurst to the national finals in April.
Nimmo, a fifth-grader at Brookland-Cayce Elementary, made putts from 5 and 15 feet to finish his competition, punctuating each bull’s-eye with an upper cut. Then came the hard part – waiting for other scores.
“Nerve-wracking,” he said while keeping a sharp eye on the scoreboard. Their day done at Fort Jackson, Deuce and dad hustled to Orangeburg Country Club for a father-son tournament. Today, he will be at Hilton Head with the Par Tee Golf Center team in the PGA Junior League competition.
“I have been driving the ball well,” said Ella Stalvey, a seventh-grader at Blythewood Middle School who scored well – 52-25- 40 – in each stage of the competition. “But I didn’t think I had made it. I thought I would be third.”
Hunt posted the day’s best score (all age groups) with 60 and earned his second trip to the regionals by winning his age group. He is no stranger to the regionals; he won the boys’ 7-9 division at Fort Jackson in 2014.
“I don’t hit the ball that far, but my short game is good,” said Hunt, a seventh-grader at Crayton Middle School. “I made one of my chips and got the others close.”
U.S. Senior Amateur
Former Walker Cup player Duke Delcher (Bluffton) shot 2-over 74 to lead the South Carolina contingent in Saturday’s first-round of qualifying for the U.S. Senior Amateur in Minneapolis.
Rick Cloninger (Fort Mill), a four-time senior player of the year in the state, shot 76 and hall-of-famer Steve Liebler (Irmo) had 78. Geno Berchiatti (Greenville) also posted a 78, Todd Hendley (Greer) 79 and Walter Odiorne (Blythewood) 81.
The low 64 scorers in the field of 156 after Sunday’s second round move into match-play on Monday.