9-time champion King back in action at Hilton Head Amateur this weekend

Rob Simmons is the defending champion in the Beaufort City Championship.
Rob Simmons is the defending champion in the Beaufort City Championship. File photo

Kevin King rolled out of The Golf Club at Indigo Run after a practice round Friday ready to compete.

For a long time, his body has not let him. The 56-year-old Bluffton resident broke his ankle in three places in January and is adjusting to the metal plate doctors installed. King, who competed in the U.S. Mid Amateur last year after four hip surgeries, said the ankle injury has been his toughest.

But he continues to come back.

King is in the field for this weekend's Hilton Head Island Amateur Golf Association Amateur Championship for the first time since 2006. He has won the tournament nine times, and hopes his game and body hold up through the back nine Sunday.

"That's why I keep trying to come back from these injuries," King said. "I love competing and putting my game on the line."

King, a standout on the University of North Carolina golf team through 1979, has given way to another former Tar Heel, Beaufort's Rob Simmons.

Simmons is the two-time defending Hilton Head Amateur champion, having overcome a five-shot deficit on the back nine at Oyster Reef to defeat John Patterson in a playoff last year.

Other notable names in the field include Bluffton's J.D. Hoft, the 2007 amateur champion and defending Beaufort City champion, and past amateur champion Tim Ferguson.

Ferguson will be playing in the event for the first time since the death of his father, Jim, in April. Both men are two-time champions.

The tournament is marking its 30th anniversary. King won his ninth title in 2003. He won three consecutive championships from 1996 to 1998, part of a stretch when he won four of five years.

But after turning professional in 2007 and trying the Champions Tour, King underwent four hip surgeries in four years. He regained his amateur status in 2009.

King plans to play in the S.C. Mid Amateur and Mid Amateur Four-Ball this year. He also will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Amateur.

First, a return to a tournament he knows well.

"It's going to be a fun test," King said.

Hilton Head Island Amateur Golf Association Amateur Championship

What: 36-hole stroke play event

When: Saturday and Sunday

Where: The Golf Club at Indigo Run

Notes: The tournament has a championship division, senior division (55-and-older, gross and net) and net division. ... Defending champion is Rob Simmons. The tournament is marking its 30th anniversary.

Saturday's Tee times

No. 1

8:30 a.m.: Jamie Manning, Chandler Vilcheck, Eric K. Dollenberg, Chris Cuneo

8:40 a.m.: Alex Magowitz, Ryan Ruggiere, Trent Hoisington, Colin Hawkins

8:50 a.m.: Joe Bryant, Tate Hoisington, Blake Mitchell, Robert Wyrick II

9 a.m.: Gavin Lindstrom, Josh Lauener, Christopher Finke, Jack Bingham

9:10 a.m.: Bo Madeo, Matt O'Quinn, J.D. Hoft, Brian Langley

9:20 a.m.: Bob Collar, Charlie Hall, Trey Testino, Taylor Wilson

9:30 a.m.: Gibby Young, Gary Perkins, Joe Vignati, Kevin Arnold

9:40 a.m.: Doug Ballanger, Chris Morris, Eric Dollenberg, Rick Thrasher

9:50 a.m.: John Vignale, Bill Grant, Karl Rosenbohm, Kent Moody

No. 10

8:30 a.m.: Rob Simmons, Brian Rizzo, P.J. Tanner, Tim Ferguson

8:40 a.m.: Bobby Engler, Mike Tracy, Logan Daber, Tony Brown

8:50 a.m.: Jeff Wong, Kevin King, Jon Piccione, Bill Fuge

9 a.m.: Jordan Carpenter, Alex Kiproff, Parker Mulford, Ryan Knapke-Standen

9:10 a.m.: Judson Milam, Chris Lane II, Benji Gecy, Wesley Long

9:20 a.m.: Brooks Moody, Chris Lewis, Steve Henry, Brad Phillips

9:30 a.m.: Tony Gonring, Ray Clark, Jay Wilson, Brian Arpala

9:40 a.m.: Russell Anderson, Michael Clementi, Steve Molthop, Brian Gecy

9:50 a.m.: Dave DeDecker, Geoff Bickerton, Steven Holt, Ed Claytor

10 a.m.: Jim Criswell, Joe Spado, Randy Bradshaw