Looks to improve upon last summer’s 40th-place showing

Last updated: June 20. 2014 7:21PM -
By - bstroup@civitasmedia.com

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Hayes’ Grant Godfrey earned himself a little extra fun in the sun this summer, firing a 74 in a qualifier at Canton’s Tam O’Shanter Golf Course to earn a spot in next month’s Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach, Fla.

The soon-to-be junior punched his ticket to the event — held at the same course the pros play the Honda Classic — with two solid rounds of golf. He fired a 73 at Blackhawk in a pre-qualifier before his 74 tied him for ninth overall in the qualifier (age 16-18).

He’ll be joined by two other Delaware County standouts, Olentangy’s Matt Homza and Liberty’s Kyle Mitchell, both incoming sophomores who will compete in the lower age division. Both shot 79s in the qualifier (age 14-15) at Tam O’Shanter. Mitchell made the cut outright while Homza earned a spot as an alternate.

This marks the second straight season Godfrey qualified for the event, which will be held July 24-29. He was tied for second after the first round before closing 40th at last year’s showcase — a tournament he learned a lot from.

“I learned to play smart … to not go for the big and bold shot, but the smart and easy shot,” he said. “I learned it the hard way down there. I hit one of the best shots of my life the first day on the last hole — a 3-wood from 250 over water and bunkers to 10 feet and two-putted for birdie — but the second day I tried the same shot, hit it in the water and ended up taking a 10 on the hole when I just should’ve done a lay-up shot and made par.”

Godfrey, who shot a 167 to finish 28th at last fall’s OHSAA Division I State Golf Championshis, said he expects to be in the thick of things on the final day.

“As usual, my goal is to win,” he said. “This year I’ve been trying to take a new approach and make sure I take one shot at a time. If I don’t think about the score and just stay out of my own way, I will be right around the top of the leaderboard.”

The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships is one of the largest and best-known junior golf tournaments in the world. Each year, more than 600 golfers participate in “The Optimist.” Optimists have been involved in the sport of junior golf for more than 30 years by holding local, regional and international tournaments. More than 5,000 golfers compete in official Optimist District qualifying tournaments. The best of these golfers, along with international golfers from around the globe, advance to the annual Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Former champions and top finishers of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships include Beth Bauer, Jonathan Byrd, Jason Day, Bill Haas, Brittany Lincicome, Jeff Overton, Stacy Prammanasudh and Jennifer Rosales.

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