Seventh-grader lands closest shot at hole-in-one event
Roughly 250 people from around the Lowcountry trekked to Old South Golf Links last week to qualify for Saturday’s main event: Palmetto Electric Cooperative’s Touchstone Energy Million Dollar Hole-In-One Shootout.
Palmetto Electric put on the event for the 12th consecutive year. Those hoping to make the final round bought their way into the qualifying rounds, with proceeds going to the Bright Ideas teacher grant program, trying to land a 120-yard shot as close to the flag as possible.
The 28 contestants closest to the pin advanced to Saturday.
The likelihood that someone would sink the main event’s 165-yard hole-in-one over a lake was extremely low — and no one did.
But Palmetto Electric still offered an award of $1,000 and a three-night vacation in Cabo to the person with the closest shot.
What the utility might not have expected was that 13-year old Jonathan Griz would take the prize by landing his shot 29 feet from the hole.
According to the USGA rules in cooperation with the NCAA, “An amateur golfer must not accept a prize or prize voucher of retail value in excess of $750 or the equivalent of $750. An amateur golfer may not accept a cash prize or voucher redeemable for cash.”
So Griz, one of the two participants in his teens, walked away with a $750 gift card to the PGA Superstore.
Though Griz was the second-youngest in the field, his victory wasn’t exactly shocking.
The seventh-grader already competes on Hilton Head Prep’s golf team, which had four of its top five players make an all-region team last season.
“I started playing tournaments when I was 7,” Griz said.
Griz, who said his favorite professional golfer is Jason Day, broke down his winning shot.
“I just judged the wind and the distance and where I needed to land it. And I shot a 6-iron,” he said.
Jonathan’s father Paul, who taught his son the game, finished third in the event.
“Honestly, I’m kind of used to (being beaten by Jonathan) by now,” Paul said.
“He’s been playing golf since he was 5. I took him to Old South’s driving range out here when he was 5. He hit his first shot with a 7-iron and the first time I saw him hit that ball, I knew.”
Jonathan will likely be sporting a new set of clubs next spring for his eighth-grade season at Hilton Head Prep.