Will Peeples doesn’t need to chase professional golf glory to satisfy his craving for the sport. He’s got everything he needs right in his own backyard.
Peeples, a Gainesville High graduate, is the defending champion in the City Golf Championship and looks to repeat this weekend at the Chattahoochee Golf Course.
"This event is really neat because it has so many good golfers," Peeples said. "It has the best of the high school golfers, guys that play in college, guys my age and older."
Peeples, 28, would be perfectly content with playing the same kind of round that put his name on the list of city championship winners, a tournament which dates back to 1962. Last year, Peeples shot a 3-under par (211) thanks in large part to the 4-under 68 he fired during the second round. With a first round even par and 1-over in the final round, he was able to secure victory
"When I won, I had a good, solid weekend where it all came together," Peeples said. "With a three-day tournament like this, you can’t win it on the first round but you certainly can lose it."
For Peeples, playing three solid rounds of golf to win his first city championship is on even par with getting his name alongside his cousin Lee Rogers (2003), as well as friends Sam Hulsey and Stuart Moore (1999) as tournament champions.
"This is a fun tournament for the golfers," Chattahoochee director of golf Rodger Hogan said. "This is a good way to determine who the best golfer in Hall County is."
Peeples certainly isn’t the only skilled golfer in this talented field. Of the approximately 35 players, there are 10 with a handicap of two or better and no players in the championship flight higher than a four. Other top competitors in this weekend’s city championship include Landry Haynes, Jimmy Lloyd, Jace Windham, Justin Cochran and Jim Foote.
With course renovations completed in 2006, the tournament at Chattahoochee is more a test of playing well off the tee with the driver than in the past. Hitting a solid tee shot on the 7,004-yard course from the black makes it more feasible to hit a short iron on the second shot. "On the old course, you wouldn’t have to hit the driver," Hogan said. "Now you almost have to."
Chattahoochee’s director of golf added that course greens now have more undulation for golfers to maneuver around, and thus, more character.
This year’s tournament field is relatively low at 35, compared to the goal of 140 players that Hogan hopes to build the field up to in coming years. He says that low numbers are due to a sluggish economy with people hesitant to spend money.
Still, players that are part of the championship flight this weekend are eager to see how they stack up against the best golfers in Hall County.
"For those that are playing, this tournament is a big deal," Hogan said. "It’s going to be a fun shootout."