Luken shoots his age for 800th time

Hilton Head Island resident Leo Luken hit another benchmark in his remarkable amateur golf career on Tuesday, shooting his age for the 800th time.

The 92-year-old accomplished the feat with a round of 86 on the George Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes.

After shooting a 42 on the front nine, Luken fired a 44 on the back, ending with a double-bogey on the last hole. He first shot his age when he was 71, playing a regulation course in Tennessee.

"It took me 21 years to get to 800," Luken said. "Getting to the first 100 probably took four or five years. Once you get over 80, it gets a little easier."

Luken has lived with his family on the island for more than seven years. He's originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., where he was a softball player for the Zollner Pistons in the 1940s and 1950s.

"I'm shooting for as much as I can but you never know," Luken said. "It depends on how my ankles, knees, back and everything holds up. I might make 850, I don't know."

As impressive as Luken's feat is, he's still a long way from the world record. T. Edison Smith of Moorhead, Minn., shot his age 2,623 times from the age of 71 until the age of 98.


Hilton Head Island's Chris Epperson qualified for the second stage of the PGA Tour's Qualifying School on Oct. 29, finishing tied for 19th place in a first stage qualifier at Pinewild Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C.

Epperson fired a 73-73-71-72, finishing 13 strokes behind winner Drew Weaver of St. Simons Island, Ga. The top 23 finishers from each of the 13 first stage sites advance to the second stage, which starts Nov. 16 at six locations.

In Lantana, Texas, Kenny Coakley failed to qualify for the second stage. He shot a 73-71-77-68 -- 289, tying for 40th place in the first stage. He missed the cut by four strokes.

Last week, Hilton Head Island's Martin Catalioto qualified for the second stage in Kannapolis, N.C. Beaufort's Mark Anderson, a Nationwide Tour player, is also guaranteed a spot in the second stage.

Bluffton's Kyle Stanley, also a Nationwide Tour player, earned a spot in the final stage after finishing 35th in the Nationwide Tour money standings. The top 25 Nationwide players earned PGA Tour cards. Those who finished 26th through 40th earned a spot in the final stage.


The Sun City Men's 18 Hole Golf Association announced the establishment of an annual scholarship fund at its annual awards dinner on Oct. 27 at Pinckney Hall in Sun City.

The fund is named in honor of Sun City resident Bernie Dolat for his years of service to the local golf community. The $1,000 financial award was presented to the Hilton Head Island Junior Golf Association to assist in the development and growth of junior golf. The association has supported local junior golf programs over the years.


Bluffton's Chandler Vilcheck has been selected to compete in the inaugural Jones Cup Junior Invitational, set for Dec. 20-22 on the Seaside Course at Sea Island (Ga.) Golf Club. The 54-hole stroke play event will feature 78 of the country's top junior golfers ages 15 to 18. Vilcheck is one of four South Carolina golfers to receive an invitation.


Bluffton's Mo Champoux sank a hole-in-one on Oct. 21 on the No. 6 hole at The Legends of Parris Island course on Parris Island. Champoux made the 115-yard shot using a 6-iron. Witnesses were David Champoux, Carol Bracken and Tom Bracken.

Hilton Head Island's Marilyn Lennox sank a hole-in-one on Oct. 25 on the No. 16 hole at Sanctuary Golf Club. She made the shot during a Lowcountry Women's Golf Association event using an 8-iron.