Before he was a major winner, Keegan Bradley was just a young Vermonter trying his hand at the game of golf. Well, another young Vermonter has an opportunity to travel to the site of the biggest major of the year, trying to win a national competition. Scott Fleishman has more in tonight, spotlight on sports.
This weekend, Jon Honeywell has a chance to Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and other PGA tour pros at the home of the Masters in Augusta.
"To have your nine year-old son earning the trip to get there, we're very excited, very blessed," father Dave Honeywell said.
Jon will be competing in the Drive, Chip and Putt contest Sunday morning. He's the only Vermonter of the 88 participants and is just one of 11 boys in the 7-to-9 year-old category.
"I knew I was going to go to Augusta, I just knew it, then I did, happy times," Honeywell said.
Jon first picked up a golf club when he was three, nearly six years later, he won his first competition, the Drive, Chip and Putt regional event in Essex Junction. From there it was on to Plymouth, Mass., when he punched his ticket to Georgia, winning the regional finals.
"One little errant shot and you don't win," coach Steve Gonsalves said. "Obviously it's all about having fun. When you get to that second stage, Jon came over and showed me the medals he won, I had a heart attack. I was like, You won!"
Its' been more than seven months since the regionals, Jon has been practicing during that time, just in less than ideal conditions.
"He just launches them down the yard," Dave Honeywell said. "The dog tries to chase them and find them and bring them back up to the house, but I think our lawn will be littered with balls once the snow melts."
"It's the middle of winter, you can't chip onto a green, you have to use the basement," Honeywell said.
Fortunately he has the support of family, friends and coaches. Coaches, who own golf simulators.
"That's what Gonzos is all about, family coming in and hitting some balls and hopefully that might help a little bit," Honeywell said.
The Masters Champion wins a green jacket similar to the one on the wall at Gonzos. While this replica may serve as motivation for Jon Honeywell this weekend at Augusta, this nine year-old has a chance to prove in front of the pros that he is the real deal.
Jon leaves for the competition Saturday, it can be seen live Sunday morning on the Golf Channel, beginning at 8 a.m. In Williston, Scott Fleishman, Channel 3 Spotlight on Sports.
PO Box 4508