Playing in LPGC a family tradition for Zeitners

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 20, 2017 7:25 am Updated: Jun. 20, 2017 11:48 am

QUINCY -- The first time Bennett Zeitner stepped foot at Westview Golf Course, he was continuing a family tradition.

He became the fifth member of his family to play in the Pepsi Little People's Golf Championships.

Zeitner, 15, played in his first LPGC two years ago. It was the first time his father, Brad a PGA pro at Brookside Golf and Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, had returned to the course since he played in 1977. Brad played in four LPGCs, which included the inaugural tournament that was played at Cedar Crest Country Club.

Bennett didn't play last summer in the tournament, but he's back this year.

"It was funny to watch (his father) because he was like, ‘Hey, I remember this hole,'" Bennett said. "But it's also a vital tool because he's played here before when he was my age."

That helped Bennett during Monday's practice round.

On numerous occasions, Brad had Bennett use several different clubs to hit approach shots from the fairway. On the par-5 No. 5, Bennett used three different irons for his second shot.

He first hit a 5-iron, but it landed in the water in front of the green. A 6-iron shot landed in the rough. Finally, he used his 7-iron to get the shot he wanted with a perfect placement in the fairway to set up a third shot to hit the green.

"I don't think I try that without my dad there," Bennett said. "He really helps out a lot."

Bennett was eager to return to Westview after missing last year because of other obligations -- most because of his family's ties to the course. This year, Bennett brought the golf tags Brad received from when he played in the LPGC. He plans to have them on his golf bag this week.

His uncle, Brandon, his aunt, Billi Jo, and his cousin Malachi all played in the LPGC over the years.

"Everyone in my family has played here," Bennett said. "It's one of the biggest tournaments in my summer schedule. It's on the national level."

The family has made the most of a seven-hour drive to Quincy.

Bennett and Brad stopped at the historic Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, Ind., on their drive. They stopped Saturday in Springfield to play a round of golf at Panther Creek Country Club, the same course that's hosting the Lincoln Land Charity Championship, a Tour event.

"It's a nice family trip where I get to take some time off from work," Brad said. "But (Bennett) wants to test his skills against more players. He heard us talk about Quincy, so he wanted to do this."

Bennett hopes he can have similar successes that his dad had. The highest finish Brad had in his visits to Quincy was second place, and he also had a fifth-place finish.

"Without a doubt," Bennett said. "The first round I played here I didn't play very well. I didn't have a chance to play the second round because it got rained out."

Bennett will play in the 6-B Division this week, and he hopes his average in the high 70s can put him in contention.

Brad will be alongside hoping for the same.

"I hope he does," Brad said. "For him though. Not for me. For him."