Hudson Wilt of Nashville proved he isn’t superhuman after all in putting the final touches on his record-setting performance in the 13-14 age division of the Press Thornton Future Masters on Tuesday.
It was still good enough to set a tournament mark.
After back-to-back stunning rounds of 8-under-par 62, Wilt struggled early, put on a new pair of shoes and rebounded to shoot a 73 in wrapping up a two-stroke victory at the Dothan Country Club.
The 197 total eclipsed the previous record for the age division set last year by Jackson Koivun of San Jose, Calif., who recorded a three-day 199. William Jennings, who finished just behind Wilt after rounds of 65, 67 and 67, tied the previous record despite not winning the tournament.
It wasn’t that Wilt put it on cruise control going into the final round with an 8-stroke cushion over Jennings of Greenville, S.C., but things simply didn’t come as easy on Tuesday.
Wilt had three bogeys in his first five holes before heavy rains pounded the course and caused a delay of more than an hour. He was 3-over at the turn.
“I started off horribly,” Wilt said. “My game plan the whole week was just to put it in the fairway and then put it on the green and make the putt.
“Those first six holes (Tuesday), I don’t think I even had a shot at the green. Even on the par 5, I hit it in the water and luckily enough I made a par anyway.”
On hole No. 8, Wilt decided to change shoes in hopes of changing his luck.
“I was like, ‘I’m just going to go with the shoes that got me 62,’” Wilt said.
Wilt played steady the rest of the way, the only blunder being a bogey on 14 before getting the stroke back with a birdie on the next hole.
“This is definitely the first tournament of this size I have won, and hopefully there are many more to come,” Wilt said.
Having his grandfather, Tim Bucek, with him during the tournament was comforting.
“It feels really nice, because if you’re like hitting a bad shot, or had a good day, there’s always somebody that’s going to be there,” Wilt said.
During the weather delay, Bucek had a few words of wisdom.
“He just said, ‘Get it together. Just put your head in the game,’” Wilt said.
Bucek knew his grandson was dialing back in mentally during the break.
“We didn’t talk a lot, but I knew he was focused,” Bucek said.
Bucek travels with Wilt to all of his tournaments and was excited to witness the big victory.
“It’s been great,” Bucek said. “What a great tournament. I think they do a wonderful job. The golf course was in magnificent shape.
“He was fortunate enough to hold on. It wasn’t Hudson’s best day, but that’s junior golf … that’s any golf.”
Jennings put up numbers normally good enough to claim a title.
Instead, he had to settle for second place.
“It’s a little bit (hard to take), because I’ve come so close so many times in this tournament,” Jennings said. “I came in second two years ago (11-12 division) and was fifth last year. I like this course and I tend to play well out here.”
Jennings recorded birdies on Nos. 7, 12, 15, 16 and 18. He drained a long putt on the final hole.
“It feels good and gives me a lot of confidence going into the rest of the summer,” Jennings said. “I felt like I let a couple of shots get away, but overall I played really well this week.”
Jack Roberts of St. Marys, Ga., shot the low score of the day at 6-under 64 and finished in third place with a 204. Just behind was Jack Vojtko of Stow, Ohio, at 205, Alex Long of Toronto at 206, Trey Marrion of Chesapeake, Va., at 207 and Jacob Blanton of West Point, Miss., at 208.
Rounding out the top 10 was Nicholas Gross of Downingtown, Pa., at 210, while Emil Nielsen of Wellesley, Mass., and Chance Rinkol of Leawood, Kan., both came in at 211.
Dothan’s Mason Crowder shot a final day 74 for a three-round 216. He tied with six others for 23rd in the field.
See www.futuremastersgolf.com for complete tournament scores.