COLUMBIA — Just a few yards from the green on the 11th hole, 10-year-old Nathan Fandrich prepared for a chip shot. His swing was smooth, and the ball landed softly on the green. It rolled slowly towards the flag, dropping into the hole just as it was about to stop.
“I said I was good with my 9-iron, didn’t I?” Nathan said to his dad after the shot.
Nathan and his father, Kent Fandrich, played in the Show-Me State Games parent/child golf tournament Sunday at A.L. Gustin Golf Course in Columbia. For the Fandriches, the event involved the entire family.
Fandrich’s two other sons, Noah, 8, and Nick, 6, watched their brother and father play the back nine holes. Fandrich’s wife, Marci, was also playing in the tournament with her father, Jim Mize. Marci Fandrich’s sister, Heather Moore, played in the tournament with Mize’s wife, Regina.
Marci Fandrich and Moore were successful golfers in high school, and both played in college. Moore played in the Show-Me State Games last year with her father, so she invited her sister and her family to play this year. When Nathan heard about the parent/child tournament, he was excited to get the opportunity to play with his father.
“This is the first tournament (Nathan and I) have played in together,” Kent Fandrich said. “We’ve practiced a little. Not enough, but a little.”
The Fandriches are from Clinton. All the boys are involved in various sports. Nathan just finished playing baseball, and football is about to start, but Sunday was all about golf. The tournament was only the second Nathan has played in, and it came one day after he celebrated his 10th birthday.
Nathan spent part of his birthday watching his mother and aunt play golf in the open tournament of the Show-Me State Games. Moore shot a 1-over-par 71, setting a tournament record for females age 19 to 29.
In the parent/child tournament, which consisted of 43 teams, both the parent and child teed off, and they chose the best ball to play. From there, they alternated shots until the ball was holed. The tournament was played in soggy conditions after a nearly two-hour rain delay.
After Nathan’s great chip on the second hole of the day, the father/son team started to struggle a little.
“We’ve been in too many interesting places today,” Kent Fandrich said after hitting a ball out from under a tree on the 15th hole.
The boys didn’t mind. Noah and Nick seemed to have fun running around and looking for balls that were hit off the fairway. They also enjoyed raking the sand traps and riding in the golf cart. On the 16th hole, the boys urged their father to try a risky shot.
“I’ve got a club in my hand, I’m taking a risk,” Kent Fandrich joked.
After a difficult day of striking the ball, Kent Fandrich ended the round nicely. Just like his son did on the 11th hole, Fandrich made a long chip shot on the 18th.
“I had a lot of fun playing with my dad,” Nathan said afterwards, “This whole weekend was fun. I want to play again next year.”