Hunter plays solid rounds

Published 6:12 pm Saturday, August 17, 2013

Suffolk’s Ben Hunter has been making a name for himself on the links, particularly in the last year, but he had been struggling lately to play strong consecutive rounds.

Last weekend, he finished a close second in the Portsmouth City Amateur held at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course, but he was most excited about how he played on Saturday and Sunday combined.

Ben Hunter fires a shot in last weekend's Portsmouth City Amateur.

Ben Hunter fires a shot in last weekend’s Portsmouth City Amateur.

“My only expectation really was to put two back-to-back under-par rounds together, and I did that,” he said.

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Par for the course was 72, and Hunter’s Saturday 68 and Sunday 71 put him just one stroke behind the winner, Wes Smith of Virginia Beach, who shot 67-71.

Hunter has been practicing throughout the summer and was determined to show more consistency on the course, noting that his up-and-down pattern dated back to his junior season at the Apprentice School.

“It was never two consistent good rounds, and that’s been my main focus, and all the hard work paid off,” he said.

Of course, he would like to have won the Portsmouth event, as well.

“I had a chance to win it, but I just couldn’t make it happen towards the end,” he said.

However, he said he knows what he needs to do differently as he recounted the last four holes on Sunday.

“I tried to make something happen and ended up making a bogey, which put me one down going into 16,” he said.

He tied with Smith on 16 and 17, and he had a clear advantage at one point on 18, placing his ball in the middle of the fairway.

“I tried to be aggressive, and once again it hurt me,” he said.

The lesson he took away was an important one: “If I don’t have the shot, don’t try to create it. Just take what the course gives me.”

Hunter will play with the Apprentice School Thursday, when the team begins its fall season against Johnston Community College in Clayton, N.C.