Standing over the ball on the ninth green at Runaway Bay, tiny Aiden Green gives his putter a swing and sends the ball sweeping toward the cup.
As the ball rolls in from 9 feet out to complete his round Tuesday morning, the 5-year-old does a little dance and gives a fist pump.
Putting is Aiden’s favorite part of the game.
“Because it’s fun. You get to putt long putts and short putts,” he explains in a low voice after his round of 49.
The round followed his nine-hole trip around Decatur Country Club Monday in which he won the 8-and-under division of the North Texas Junior Golf Tour with a 43.
“It was like the PGA Tour,” Aiden said about his victory.
He was one of a half-dozen players in the youngest age group who took part in the two Wise County stops on the local youth tour.
“It’s awesome and fun to see the youth playing,” said Terry McCutchen. “Hopefully we are building the game for the future.”
The two youngest groups play the course from modified tees in the middle of the fairway.
“It helps equalize it out,” McCutchen said.
According to his father Alan Green, the Bridgeport High School golf coach, Aiden has been swinging a club since he’s been able to walk.
“He comes out and putts and chips with the high school team,” Green said.
“As long as he’s having fun. That’s the bottom line, have fun and learn the game.”
The elder Green pointed out that his son wasn’t as excited on the course Tuesday as the day before. His 49 at Runaway Bay was good enough for fourth in the division. Collin Moody and Chase Stone tied with 44s. After still being tied after four holes, Moody won the tournament in a putt-off.
“Golf is a humbling sport,” Alan Green said. “It teaches you about dealing with failure.”
While making his way around the course, Aiden made a few other discoveries besides finding the right touch on an approach shot. When his tee shot on eight went wide of the fairway, he found a snapping turtle laying eggs near a tree.
He was soon joined by his playing partners – Austin Mathison and Moody – to see the turtle. The young trio then went back to their friendly and entertaining round with a little more dancing and celebrating.
REED FINISHES FIRST, SECOND
Bridgeport’s Ty Reed won the 15-18 division at Decatur Country Club Monday with a round of 72.
Reed followed up his round with a 77 on Tuesday at Runaway Bay to take second. Northwest’s Bradley Field won the tournament Tuesday, shooting 74.
“I hit the ball a lot better Monday. I salvaged today,” Reed said.
Reed rolled in several putts Monday, netting five birdies. He stayed consistent with his short game on Tuesday, playing against several other local high school golfers.
“It’s a lot of fun to compete with people from around here,” Reed said.