Brett Potter hits a shot during the R.W. Mercer Jackson Junior Golf Tour event at Hills’ Heart of the Lakes Golf Course on Thursday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Soon-to-be Western High School graduate Brett Potter dreams of the day he can become a head professional at a private golf course.
His experiences at the R.W. Mercer Jackson Junior Golf Tour the last six years have come in handy.
Potter has learned about tournaments, improving at the game, and the rules and etiquette.
The WHS senior – who will graduate on Friday – was one of nearly 100 golfers who played in the Mercer Tour event at Hills’ Heart of the Lakes Golf Course on Thursday.
Golfers competed in an alternate shot format with a twist. Each of the golfers teed off at each hole, with the team choosing the best one. The player whose drive was not chosen, hit the next shot, and the two-man team alternated shots until the hole was over.
Potter and teammate Noah Abbey finished fourth in the boys all ages with a 77.
Potter said his experiences in the Mercer Tour has brought out his love for the game.
“This is my only form of competitive golf besides high school,” Potter said. “I love golf now.
The senior will participate in the Ferris State University professional golf management program later in the summer.
Mercer Tour organizer Dave Gilpin said he has hit on popular tournament formats. Players have participated in best ball, scramble, and now an alternative shot formats so far this summer.
“The kids enjoy playing with a buddy,” Gilpin said.
Gilpin said the numbers in the tour have been a bit stagnant over the years, but the different formats are keeping things interesting.
“Kids enjoy the different formats and they are showing up more,” Gilpin said.
The Mercer Tour has 145 signed up with the option of playing in 10 tournaments this summer. Gilpin said it is a “decent number of golfers.”
Gilpin hopes the Mercer Tour helps golfers move on to high school teams.
The tour has 15 sponsors and a number of scholarships totaling more than $5,000 each year. Gilpin said anyone can play – even if he/she can’t afford the $15 membership or green fees.
“We have a hardship fund set up two years ago when Doug Martin died,” Gilpin said. “Family members requested those wanting to donate following his death, to give to the Mercer Tour.
“Some are still donating each year.”
In the event on Thursday, Wesley Learned and Andrew Parrott won the boys 11-up nine-hole event with a 40. Leo Nguyen and Blayden Steller won the boys 10-under nine-hole event with 43. Colin Norton and Cannon Risner won the boys’ all-ages with a 4-under par 65.
Elaina Kuenzer and Lauren Langston won the girls’ nine-hole event with 49. Kamryn Shannon and Marie Mathieu won the girls’ all-ages 18-hole event with a 79.
Scores from all of the tournaments and more information on upcoming tournaments are posted at jjgolftour.com.
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