Originally created 05/24/00

Westin: Golfer makes tournaments fun



It's easy to spot Lad Wright at a Regions Cup tournament, and not just because he's sporting a shaved-head look this season or because he's annually one of the top golfers on the circuit.

It's because he's probably the guy having the most fun, no matter how he's playing.

Wright, who finished sixth in last weekend's Gordon Uhl/Golf Capital Invitational, is the Regions Cup's answer to Fuzzy Zoeller. If you like to laugh and stay relaxed during a round, Wright is your man.

"Lad is fun," said Randy Sapp, who played with Wright in the first round of the Uhl/Golf Capital and shot a 69, which helped him eventually finish tied for second place.

"He's a guy you can enjoy playing with even if he's playing bad because he never gets down on himself," Sapp said. "It's just an enjoyment playing with him."

"I've been playing too many years to get upset about it," said the 42-year-old Wright, who is the club champion at Midland Valley. "It's a fun game. I love it, but sometimes I hate it."

Wright, the owner of two package stores in Aiken County, played in four of the eight Regions Cup events in 1999 and hopes to play in "six or seven" of the 10 events this year.

"I love to play in them; they are too much fun," Wright said. "The whole idea in all these tournaments is we all should be thinking about having fun. That's first and foremost. I can play good today and like chicken salad tomorrow and still have a good time. No matter what happens one day, I'm going to have the same amount of fun the next day. That's all that matters."

Wright's best chance at winning a Regions Cup event came in the 1994 Uhl/Golf Capital. He lost in a playoff that he never expected to be in to current Oklahoma State All-American Charles Howell, then 15 years old.

Wright finished early, posting a 72, then headed for the 19th hole where he had "two or three" drinks, he said.

The next thing he knew, the leaders fell back and Howell was lining up a 35-foot birdie putt on the final hole to force a playoff with Wright.

"Somebody asked him if I wanted to go see him putt and I said, `nah,"' Wright recalled. "He made it and I had to go get my clubs."

Howell chipped in for birdie on the first hole to win the playoff.

"Everybody's fighting the same thing -- nerves and all that other stuff," Wright said. "You're trying to hit good shots and make the right decisions. Sometimes it works out for you and sometimes it doesn't."

TWO-MAN SCRAMBLE:

The Augusta Golf Course will hold a Two-Man Scramble tournament June 24-25. All players must have certified handicaps because the field will be preflighted. The maximum difference between the two players cannot be greater than 10 shots.

Entry fee of $140 per team includes golf cart for the tournament rounds and a practice round on June 23 (cart not included). There will be a cookout after the first round and more than $500 in gift certificates, if 100 teams sign up. To enter, drop by the Augusta Golf Course. The deadline for entry is June 21.

GALLAGHER JUNIOR:

Entry forms for the annual Mickie Gallagher junior golf tournament were distributed to area courses this week. The tournament, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Patrick Walsh County 677, will be held Aug. 10 at the Forest Hills Golf Club. It is open to boys and girls 17-under. Entry fee of $5 covers lunch and prizes and trophies for the winners and runners-up in each flight. Entries should be mailed to the Mickie Gallagher golf tournament, 2342 McDowell St., Augusta, Ga., 30904.

Holes-in-One

CEDAR CREEK: Nicole Rimmer aced the 112-yard eighth hole with a 5-wood shot. Her husband, Jim Rimmer, was among the witnesses.

GORDON LAKES: Clarence Herring aced the 145-yard sixth hole. The witnesses were Bill Rodgers and Howard Aiken.

Brian Null aced the 13th hole. The witnesses were Joe Null and Eddie Ferguson.

SWEETWATER CC (Barnwell): Jerry Russell aced the 169-yard 14th hole with a 6-iron shot. The witnesses were Russell Rabun and David Rabun.



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