Hunter gets historic win

Published 10:51pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

Suffolk’s Ben Hunter recently provided the perfect capstone to his incredible career as a member of The Apprentice School golf team.

The final team event of his career was Monday’s Glenn Heath Memorial Shipbuilders Tournament in Williamsburg. The 11-year-old event, named after a former Apprentice School coach, is one the Builders had never won, until this week.

Suffolk’s Ben Hunter lines up a stroke on Monday before becoming the first Apprentice School golfer ever to win the Glenn Heath Memorial Shipbuilders Tournament.
Suffolk’s Ben Hunter lines up a stroke on Monday before becoming the first Apprentice School golfer ever to win the Glenn Heath Memorial Shipbuilders Tournament.

Playing in a field of seven teams, they turned in the third lowest tournament score in the last 20 years by an Apprentice School team with a 36-hole tally of 619, led by Hunter’s three-over-par 147. He became the first Builder ever to earn the medalist honor in the tourney, winning by three strokes.

Hunter said he felt grateful to have ended his team-play career as a Builder this way.

“I felt like winning the Glenn Heath sort of put a stamp on the career and the success that I had at the Apprentice School,” he said.

He had many motivations to win, one of which was finishing the job he had come so near to completing before. As a sophomore, he placed third individually in the Glenn Heath tourney. Last year, he took second, losing by just one shot.

“I’ve been hungry for this tournament,” he said, and he knew it was important to his coach. “From the top to bottom, it’s something that I wanted.”

The event, ordinarily a two-day affair, was compressed to one because of impending inclement weather. Builders head coach Joey Maben singled out Hunter’s performance on the 16th hole of the second round.

The tournament was close, and each stroke was pivotal at this point. Maben’s son and assistant coach, B.J., had been with Hunter on the course, but opted to leave him alone, because he said he could see by the determination in Hunter’s face that he did not need any help.

“That probably was one of my proudest moments,” Joey Maben said in reference to Hunter, noting it was likely he was thinking, “Hey, I’ve worked this hard, and nobody’s going to take this away from me.”

The win earned Hunter the 18th medalist honor of his college career.

To achieve it, he effectively managed the challenge of playing 36-holes in one day, improving from a 75 in the first round to a 72 in the second.

“It’s kind of neat to see him go out with the win,” said B.J. Maben, who held many of the school records before Hunter.

Trying to describe Hunter’s career, B.J. Maben called it “unreal.” He said, “To be a two-time national champion, it’s more than we ever expected for a golfer coming through the school.”

Hunter stated by text message the key ingredients to his huge success on the links: “Keeping God first and believing in the gift that He’s blessed me with, my family for all of their support, my mentor Gregory Hunt, swing coach Jon Corliss, Coach B.J./Coach Maben and my teammates.”

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