Schuck's Clipboard

Mission accomplished as pro-am creates generous atmosphere

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 28, 2018 10:15 pm

Ben Crane pulled the driver from his bag, stepped onto the seventh tee and turned to his playing partners for some advice.

"Do I take up the right side?" he asked, unsure of the safest landing area for the par-4, 407-yard hole at Westview Golf Course.

Adam Derhake, an orthopedic surgeon with the Quincy Medical Group, helped line him up.

"I'm in good hands here," said Crane, a PGA Tour golfer with five career victories. "I'm with a team of doctors. If anything goes wrong, they can save me."

If they hit wayward shots during Monday's third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am, he was there to save them.

"This is a lot of fun," Crane said. "I'm having a blast."

He had no idea what his score was at the time or what he was expected to shoot.

This wasn't about shot-making and scoreboard watching. It was about interaction, story-telling and giving back to a community that wants to see the game grow.

"You've got to enjoy this," Web.com Tour pro Josh Teater said before hitting a tee shot on the par-4 13th in which he tried to cut the dogleg by carrying the trees. "You go for it. That's what is fun about these events."

The conversations typically are far more entertaining than the golf.

Among the topics discussed in different groups were the St. Louis Cardinals, the distance to Branson, Mo., country music acts, whether to wear a ballcap or a bucket hat, and why anyone would wear long sleeves on a 97-degree day. One of the pros even took a Yamaha golf cart that Traeder's TNT had on display for a test drive.

Golf brought this group together. Personalities made it work.

"Great, great guys," Quincy native and Web.com Tour pro Luke Guthrie said of the 14 other professional golfers who comprised the field. "They turn this into a great event."

The gallery was limited as a couple hundred fans roamed the course on a sun-drenched day, but it didn't impact the event's intention.

Plenty of money was raised to ensure the primary beneficiaries -- the Quincy Medical Group Foundation with an emphasis on cancer and the Junior Rangers Golf Academy -- each will receive a sizable donation.

"You don't realize it as a kid, but you benefit from it," Guthrie said. "There were so many juniors out here when I was a kid, and it was a fun place to be. It wasn't just golf. I love golf, but it was about hanging with my friends, too.

"It's up to us to keep helping the next generation and putting them in a spot where they can have fun."

It's also up us to lend a helping hand to those battling for their lives.

"Cancer hits everyone," Guthrie said. "Everyone in this world has a connection to cancer. It hits home. It hits home to me. I've had family members have it and have some scary moments. It's meaningful to make any kind of difference."

That's the mission the Pro-Am strives to fulfill.

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