Just after his opponent hit the first shot of Thursday’s round, Erick Higgs offered a “nice shot” as he prepared to take his second shot.
Higgs was part of a historic round of golf — his opponent the youngest player in the 102 year history of the Kansas Golf Association Men’s Amateur Championship to make match play.
Wells Padgett, 13, of Wichita was making history — though his trip to match play ended with a loss to Higgs.
“It feels good to be the youngest,” Padgett said.
Padgett, who will attend Maize South Middle School this fall, was playing in his first KGA men’s tournament — though he has played a number of tournaments leading up to this week’s action at Sand Creek Station.
He won the Kansas Junior tournament at Garden City earlier this year.
Padgett started golf at the age of two with a set of plastic clubs. When he took up the game, he started out as a left-handed player. His father helped him make a switch to playing right handed.
Phil Padgett was giddy when Wells made the round of 64 — he’s been watching Wells play golf for 11 years. And, he’s watch his son get better and better throughout Wells’ childhood.
“I’m not good enough to play with him anymore,” Phil Padgett said.
Thursday Wells Padgett was the 62 seed, taking on the No. 3 seeded player in the tournament.
But he didn’t care about the seedings or the pairings — he was confident entering the round he would do well.
“I know if I play my game I’ll do as well as anyone out here,” Wells Padgett said. “I need to keep pace on the greens, and be confident in my play.”
After all, tournament play isn’t something foreign to him. He’s played in “a lot” of kids tournament, and participated in a tournament filled with college-level payers earlier this year.
And, win or lose, it was mission accomplished Thursday as the course was buzzing with the news of his making the first cut.
“I wanted to get my name out there a little bit,” Wells Padgett said.