Hicks fires 30 on back nine, finishes with 68

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jun. 20, 2018 8:50 am

QUINCY -- News began buzzing around Westview Golf Course Tuesday afternoon about a ridiculously low score in the first nine holes in the boys 16-17 division of the Pepsi Little People's Golf Championships.

Ben Hicks of Minneapolis made a birdie on the par-4 No. 18, his ninth hole of the day, which some believed gave him a 29 on his first nine holes of the two-day tournament.

"I wish it was a 29," Hicks said.

Hicks' score didn't match the rumor going around the course, but he still carded a 30 that put him in contention for the LPGC division record of 66 set by Taylor Cox from Columbia, Mo., in 2009 and Tim Lavin from Richardson, Texas, in 1986.

A run of birdies on the final nine holes could have meant Hicks was challenging the Westview course record of 61 set by Quincy's Luke Guthrie.

One bad hole prevented Hicks from putting his name in the record book, but he still put himself in the lead with a 3-under par 68 heading into Wednesday's final round.

A two-hour weather delay hit just before Hicks and his group could tee off on the par-5 fifth hole. Hicks was even-par through four holes on the front nine, but the long delay affected him. He carded a nine on the fifth hole, and he followed that with a bogey on the par-5 sixth hole.

Hicks recovered by carding birdies on the final three holes, including a tee shot on the par-3 ninth that stuck within 10 feet of the pin. He calmly sank the birdie putt to seal the 68.

His putting on the first nine holes helped him catch fire. Hicks birdied five of his first six holes, and the lone par came on the par-4 No. 13, where he missed a 10-foot downhill birdie putt.

The putts he was making weren't easy, either.

He made a 25-foot putt on No. 11. He sank a 45-footer on No. 14. He drained a 30-foot putt on No. 15.

"I felt like anything I was putting was going in," Hicks said. "After a while, I didn't feel like I was making birdies. It just felt weird. I've just never experienced that before."

It's got him in contention to win the age group in his fifth and final try at LPGC.

"I played this course many times," Hicks said. "I know how to read the greens. I just expect to shoot under on this course. I'm not going to put my pressure on myself though to play the perfect round."