ELIZABETHTOWN — Despite the on-set of the holiday season and influx of cooler weather, Cade Hancock hasn’t put his “sticks” away fro the winter.
“I practice and play year-round,” the 15-year-old Elizabethtown resident said.
Hancock, a sophomore at Harrells Christian Academy, has already accumulated numerous accolades on the links. Along with being Harrells’ No. 1 player and leading the Crusaders to the state championship (where he finished No. 15 individually as a freshman), Hancock is the two-time Hurricane Junior Golf Tour champion; ranks No. 15 nationally in the Hurricane Junior Gold Tour rankings; and finished third in his age group, one shot off the lead, at the 48th annual George Holliday Memorial Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., last during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“He played really well,” said Cade’s father James. “He had a few holes where he stumbled, but he got things together and competed hard against some very good players.
“He missed a 35-foot putt late in the tournament that hit the hole, bounced up and came to rest right on the edge,” he added. “If it had gone in, there would have been a three-way tie and Cade would have won on the scorecard playoff.”
For the tournament, Cade recorded nine birdies playing on the South Creek, King’s North and West Course links. He carded a two-over 74 in the first round to tie for the overall lead, shot a one-over 73 in the second round and fell one shot back, then carded a 76 that kept him one shot back among the 208-player field. His third-place finish in his age group, among 44 players, was made even more impressive by finishing tied for 10th overall.
Even at a young age, Cade has created a solid work ethic and has formed a journey he hopes will lead to bigger and better things in the future.
He plays by the motto of “Swing your own swing,” which means he’s not interested in modeling his game after anyone — amateur or pro — though he said he does “model a good attitude from numerous PGA Tour players.” He also continues to work on his game — including a painstaking focus on his approach shots from 100 to 140 yards out — and usually can be found as the youngest player in a foursome.
“I try to play with better players so I can elevate my own game,” he said. I’m looking to win the high-school state title, attend Wake Forest University and then, from there, get to the PGA Tour.”
Although college coaches can’t communicate with Cade until his junior year, his accomplishments are surely getting his name written into their Fall 2017 planners.
Until then, Cade has a busy winter planned on the links. He will play in the Charles Tilghman Invitational Grand Dunes Members Course the second week in December; then the Donald Ross Invitational Pinehurst at the end of December; then, in January, he will compete in the Winter Nationals at Pinehurst No.1 and No. 2; and, in February, he will play in the Dustin Johnson Invitational at The Players Club Myrtle Beach.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.