Young Kinter's early ace saves him traditional payoff

August 15, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

Ryan Kinter will have a summer to remember with the memorable moment almost falling on his birthday.

Some golfers go an entire lifetime dreaming of a hole-in-one. The young Kinter can start looking forward to his second.

The 8-year-old Kinter, who turns 9 on Aug. 23, captured the thrill when he holed a 158-yard drive from the red tees on the par-3, fourth hole last Sunday at Fountain Head Country Club, playing with his father, Joe, and Hugh Breslin and his son, Kevin.

Joe Kinter has a vivid recollection of the event.

"(Ryan) was hitting the ball well, and when we got to No. 4 we all hit first," said Joe Kinter. "He hit a good drive and it was perfect with a slight draw to it. The ball bounced maybe 25 yards short of the green right on line and I jokingly hollered 'Get in the hole.'

"Hugh Breslin shouted the same thing, and they got in the cart and to the green faster than we did. When they got to the green, Hugh got out of the cart and didn't see any ball on the green. Hugh walked around the back of the green, and then he turned and walked toward the hole as we got out of our cart. As Ryan was getting out, Hugh told Ryan to "Come get your ball.'"


There were the moments of celebration - a mixture of hugs and screams - and then it was on to the next hole.

"When we got to the next par 3, he wanted to get another one," said Joe Kinter, who , like many golfers, has yet to experience a hole-in-one. "He actually still played fairly well the rest of the way."

The hole-in-one also carries a tradition of the golfer buying a round of drinks in the clubhouse, but young Ryan didn't have to worry about that.

"When we were coming up No. 9, I told him about the tradition and he said, 'I don't have the money,'" Joe Kinter said. "I told him he didn't have to worry because he wasn't old enough for the lounge, but there wasn't a soul around."

Ryan first picked up a club when he was 4 and has participated in age-division tournaments at Yingling's Golf Center. He has been a first-place finisher in his division this season.

Joe Kinter said he and his wife, Trish, and family members are "diehard golfers," and Ryan was not be an exception.

"We didn't push him. ... He showed an early interest when I would be outside hitting the ball and he thought that was neat," Joe Kinter said. "When he was 5, we were at TPC Sawgrass (Jacksonville, Fla.) and he saw Tiger Woods and all the other players, and he got a golf ball from one of them."

Moving forward

Chris Henson, a 2000 South Hagerstown graduate, has made what he hopes is his first move up the ladder in the ranks of becoming a club professional.

Henson was recently named an assistant on the staff at The Links at Challedon, in Mount Airy, Md. As the season winds down, Henson will be busy prepping for his certificates as a PGA club professional.

The 40-minute trip from Hagerstown to Mount Airy won't be a bother for Henson, the 2000 Washington County high school champion.

"I went to HCC but at that time there was no golf program," Henson said. "I went to the College Golf Academy in Myrtle Beach (S.C.) for two years and learned so much."

Henson returned to the area to work at Maryland National as a shop attendant at the beginning of August but made the move when the opportunity at Challedon opened up.

"I had a friend (Jason Rauth) at the academy and he talked to the people at Challedon," Henson said. "I'm looking forward to it. I'd like to be a head professional some day."

First-year challenge

West Virginia high schools got an early start on regular-season competition and Dale McCumbee had and immediate challenge when he took over Berkeley Springs' golf program.

"When I took over we didn't have enough kids to score as a team," said McCumbee, who also coaches the Indians' girls basketball team. "I was afraid we wouldn't have enough kids, but now we have 11 or 12."

Some in the group might not have played golf before, much less a competitive round, but McCumbee is banking on a lot of practice time to help turn the corner.

"We're spending time on fundamentals like chipping and putting," McCumbee said. "There is a lot of work being done on the range and Charlie Fields (Cacapon State Park course professional) has been great letting the kids play."

McCumbee himself played golf at Berkeley Springs under coach Don Davison and has "a great interest in the game and a lifetime interest in the sport."

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His Divots column appears every other Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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