McCalla’s Neal Hodo pitches onto the 18th green during the golf portion of the 2013 Masters Games. Hodo and his partner Kerwin Carson shot a 77 in doubles play, placing second overall in the 70-74 age group. During the two-day event,  nearly 70 golfers participated in the singles, doubles, and pitch/putt competitions. --Daniel Evans
McCalla’s Neal Hodo pitches onto the 18th green during the golf portion of the 2013 Masters Games. Hodo and his partner Kerwin Carson shot a 77 in doubles play, placing second overall in the 70-74 age group. During the two-day event, nearly 70 golfers participated in the singles, doubles, and pitch/putt competitions. -- Daniel Evans

Senior golfers show off skills at Masters Games

Published 8:33pm Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Senior golfers gathered at the Valley Grande Golf Course Monday and Tuesday for the 2013 Masters Games district tournament and a little comradery and competition between old friends, new acquaintances and players of all ages.

Some of the players were local, but golfers came from as far away as Russell County to participate in the estimated 70-person field.

Even a golfer that is legally blind, Ed Brown, took part in the event. Although based on his score, you would never know his vision is limited. In the singles competition Monday, Brown shot 86.

The course was set up on the yellow tees — based on the PGA’s “Tee It Forward” movement — which made holes shorter than usual, allowing players to shoot low scores.

“When you get to this age group of people, the majority of them are retired,” Selma Parks and Recreation Department Director Elton Reece said. “Golf is basically the last athletic event they can do, and it is a lifetime sport so they continue to play. They still enjoy the competitiveness of it. Golf allows them to continue to do that.”

Reece, who rarely gets a chance to play golf because of his schedule, and playing partner Ray Hollingshead, won the doubles competition in the 65-69 age competition with a 62.

However, Reece said there is more to the Masters Games than the final results.

“It is fun. This is really where winning and losing is not the big thing,” Reece said. “Seeing older people enjoy themselves playing golf, they strictly play by the rules because they have a true understanding of the game of golf. They abide by the rules. It is just fun to see people enjoy it, even with the hot temperature.”

Selma’s Jesse Harris said he plays to have fun and see old friends.

“It is just the comradery, getting with your friends and seeing people from other places that you wouldn’t normally see and fellowship with them,” Harris said, playing in the event for his eighth time.

McCalla’s Neal Hodo has had some great moments in previous Masters Games, including a very memorable first year.

“All of a sudden, I noticed coach Reece walking towards me with somebody and said ‘this guy wants to see you and wants to know if you know him,’” Hodo recalled, who looked up to see his high school football coach Hub Maroney, who he had not seen since his graduation. Hodo said moments like that one keep him coming back.

Golfers were broken down into the following age groups: 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89 and 90 and above.

The singles’ competition and pitch and putt competition took place on Monday. In the pitch/putt competition, Selma’s Moses Ngirailab won the 55-59 age group, Selma’s Ray Hollingshead won the 65-69 age group, and Selma’s Johnny Moss won the 70-74 age group.

Selma’s Stevie Smitherman shot 72 to win the singles competition in the 55-59 age group, followed by Ngirailab, and Maplesville’s Kurt Wallace. Selma’s Steve Spivey won the 60-64 age group and Selma’s Andrew Simmons finished third. Selma’s Harris shot 72 to win the singles’ competition in the 65-69 age group, followed by Hollingshead and Maplesville’s Mike Walls. Selma’s Johnny Moss shot 78 to win the 70-74 age group, followed by Selma’s Gordon Cargill. In the 80-84 age group, John Lovett, formerly of Selma, shot 81 to win.

In the ladies competition, Selma’s Brenda Black won.

In the doubles competition, Smitherman and Gordon McClendon won the 50-54 age group with a 64. Walls and Wallace won the 55-59 age group with a 67, Steve Schmidt and Bill Ledbetter shot 63 to win the 60-64 age division, Montgomery’s John Parrish and Tony Hatchett shot 67 to win the 70-74 age group, and Selma’s Wayne Robinson and Sonny Dubose shot 80 to win the 80-84 age division. Annye Braxton and Tommie Gilbert shot 69 to win the ladies division.

All of the golfers who took part in the district tournament are eligible for the state tournament.

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