Junior Golf: Spalla goes from golfer to waiter at Glenwoodie
By Tommy Stokke For Sun-Times Media June 20, 2012 8:42PM
Updated: July 23, 2012 7:15AM
He says he’s not a morning person, but facing a 5:15 a.m. shower and a plan to be on the driving range by 6 a.m., Anthony Spalla Jr. had no choice Tuesday but to adjust.
Teeing off at 6:30 a.m. in the opening group of the Boys 16 to 18 Division in the SouthtownStar Challenge Junior Golf Championship, Spalla became the leader in the clubhouse with a nifty round of 82 at Glenwoodie Golf Course. Surely, he thought, it was not low enough to stay at the top.
Spalla waited, anticipating it wouldn’t be long for just one lower score than his to come off the course, so he and his father, Anthony Sr., could return home.
That was about 10:30 a.m. A hot dog and beverage later, Spalla waited in the midday heat, the scores seeming to mirror the temperatures. He remained the leader — though many players remained on the course.
The heat had nearly gotten to Spalla during his round — or at least it appeared so. He’d been cruising until double bogeys at Nos. 13 and 16. But a chip-in on 17 helped him close with consecutive birdies for his 82.
“I had a couple of mistakes,” Spalla, of Chicago Heights, said. “A couple of bad putts ruined it and really got to me. But I was glad to get out of there with birdies on the end.”
As the waiting game continued, a game transpired on the putting green between father and son. Anthony Sr. took this one by one stroke, reminding his son where he learned his short game.
After the putting clinic by his father, the clubs went into the car. What was supposed to be moments of waiting before going home turned into hours. One beverage turned into two. And still not a single score topping his 82 — though Mokena’s Matt Contey matched it.
“I wasn’t nervous waiting,” he said. “I like pressure situations so I was getting excited for a playoff.”
About 1 p.m., Spalla mentioned the notion of retrieving his clubs from the car in anticipation of that playoff, but his idea was waved off by his dad in an effort to keep any jinx away.
Sure enough, the second-to-last group came in with scores of 81 and 80, leaving Spalla in third. His waiting could pay off for at least a trophy — until eventual winner Brant Bolden’s 77 topped the field.
A day gone to waste? Not exactly.
“It didn’t work out, but that’s all right though, fourth out of 50 feels pretty good,” Spalla said. “I’ll take it, especially at a course like this.”
Now, Spalla waits again. This time for a decision from Calumet College of St. Joseph, where he may sign to continue his education and golfing.
“As the summer goes on I’m getting better so I’m just throwing myself into tournaments and see how things go,” Spalla said.
Clearly, he has the necessary patience.