The late Billy Joe Patton, a former Wake Forest star and one of the top amateurs to ever play the game, will be honored this week by Grandfather Golf & Country Club in Linville.
As part of the festivities surrounding the Founders Cup, several members of Patton’s family will be there to take part this coming weekend.
“He was one of the 25 founding members of the club in 1968,” said Chuck Patton, a son of Billy Joe who lives in Winston-Salem. “He loved the golf course and called it the best mountain course he’d ever played.”
Patton, who was Wake Forest’s first star golfer even before Arnold Palmer arrived on the old campus near Raleigh, gained plenty of fame as a top amateur for several years.
Patton, who graduated from Wake Forest in 1943, nearly won the Masters in 1954 as an amateur but fell one stroke short of being in a playoff with Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.
Chip King, the director of golf at Grandfather, says the Founders Cup is one of the highlights of the summer. This will be the ninth straight Founders Cup where the club honors their heritage in some way.
Last year, the club recognized all of the past directors of golf that included John Buczek, who lives in Winston-Salem and is a former Wake Forest star. Last year’s Founders Cup highlighted the 50-year anniversary of the course opening.
Grandfather is ranked No. 2 in the latest N.C. Golf Panel rankings behind only Pinehurst No. 2.
Also included among those honored in past years was Jesse Haddock, the legendary coach of Wake Forest who died in March of 2018.
Patton, who died in 2011, is a member of the Wake Forest Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame and the Carolinas Golf Association Hall of Fame.
He was born and raised in Morganton and twice won the North and South Amateur in Pinehurst. He also played on five Walker Cup teams and was captain of the 1969 team.
In 1982, he was awarded the Bob Jones Award by the USGA for his outstanding contributions to the game.
King said it’s important that the club celebrates its storied history.
“We did this for the first time in 2011 and it’s been well received,” King said. “We want to make sure to link our past to the present, so we’re looking forward to the celebration of Billy Joe along several family members who will be here.”
ACC changes men’s golf championships format
The ACC men’s golf championships, which will be played for the last time at The Old North State Club at Uwharrie Point in April, will have a new look to its format.
Jerry Haas, the coach of Wake Forest, said the tournament will determine a winner through match play. There will be 54 holes of stroke play to determine the individual champion and the top four teams.
The four teams will then compete in match play to determine the winner.
The NCAA Championships, which changed formats to match play in 2009, only had one ACC team (Wake Forest) reach the final eight for match play last month.
“We don’t play a lot of match play tournaments as a whole, but a lot of the players in our conference obviously play match play during the summer at various tournaments,” Haas said. “We just felt that as a conference changing the format will get our conference teams better prepared for the NCAAs.”
The championships will also be moving to other venues after next April. The Old North State Club has played host to the ACC Championships 16 of the last 17 years.
“Old North State has been good to the conference, but they are going to do some work on their course,” Haas said. “There’s always a chance we could go back there but probably not for four or five years.”
Around the green
Five Wake Forest men’s golfers were named to the Golf Coaches Association of America’s PING All-Region teams. The five were Kengo Aoshima, Eric Bae, Eugenio Chacarra, Alex Fitzpatrick and Cameron Young. The five selections were the most in the East Region and tied for most with Arizona State, who had five selections on the All-West Region Team. “Five players on the all-region team shows the talent and depth of this team,” Coach Jerry Haas of the Deacons said. ...
Drew Weaver, who grew up in High Point but now lives in Sea Island, Ga., is putting together a very solid season on the Web.com Tour. Through 12 tournaments Weaver is 16th on the money list with $103,346. Weaver, a Virginia Tech graduate, can reach the PGA Tour next year for the first time if he stays inside the top 25 by the end of the Web.com Tour season. Weaver, 32, has been a professional for the last 10 years. ...
Bill Haas, a former Wake Forest star, missed the cut this weekend at The Memorial as he continues to struggle this season. Haas is 140th on the FedExCup points list with one top 10 finish this season. Haas, 37, has six career PGA Tour victories. His best finish was a tie for 10th at the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif. in October of 2018. ...
Winston-Salem’s Parks and Recreation Department’s next golf tournament is scheduled for July 9-11 with the 68th Forsyth Junior. The three rounds will be held at Tanglewood Park’s Reynolds Course, Pine Knolls and Reynolds Park. Applications will be available at area golf courses later this summer as well as the city’s parks and recreation department on Main Street.