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Blanton inducted to Circle of Champions

SELMA — Donnie Blanton waited for all the cameras to be focused on him them quickly pulled away the cover on his picture, putting his name as the 10th one inducted into Selma Country Club’s Circle of Champions.

He then posed for some more pictures, shook hands and was congratulated by the people who crowded into the clubhouse lobby to witness the moment.

“There are some good champions in there,” Blanton said. “I’m proud to be in there with them.”

Blanton won the 2009 Alabama Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship, which qualified him for the honor. Only natives of Selma who have won a state or national amateur championship can be enshrined. Blanton, fittingly, won the tournament at Selma County Club.

“I’m humble and happy about it,” Blanton said. “I kind of forgot about it, actually. I’ve been playing golf here my whole life. To have my picture in the entryway is a nice thing.”

Blanton had jokingly requested in his speech that his picture be placed higher than that of friend and playing partner Art Gleason, who is also in the Circle of Champions, but it was not granted.

Blanton’s friend and fraternity brother when the two were at the University of Alabama Sam Farlow drove down from Birmingham to be on hand for the induction.

“I came down here when I was 13 for the Dixie Junior and was paired with Donnie,” Farlow said. “I’m really proud of him. There have been a lot of good golfers come out of Selma for it to not be a very big town.”

Farlow and Selma Country Club president Mike Reynolds both credited former club pro Bud Burns for helping produce those golfers.

“Donnie is like a lot of people who took up the game as youngsters,” Reynolds said. “(Burns) loved children and loved seeing them love the game. The great players all started playing when they were 7 or 8. Donnie is like a lot of players who took up the game as youngsters. That’s when you have to start playing if you want to get good.”