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Quartet shares BMW lead, but Dennis steals the show

3:18 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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GREER (GREENVILLEONLINE.COM)-- On a day when none of the professionals separated themselves from the crowd at the Tour BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by Synnex Corporation, amateur Walt Dennis certainly did.

Jane Dennis sensed something special Thursday morning while her husband was in the shower.

"He took an empty shampoo bottle and tossed it over the shower curtain and it landed right in the trash can," Jane said. "I told him that was a good omen."

It was.

Dennis, a 62-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, with a 2 handicap, had a hole-in-one on the ninth hole at Thornblade Club, resulting in some high-fives and back-slaps from his playing partners, including Jane, who was in the foursome along with pros Ashley Hall and Adam Crawford, both of Australia.

But Walt didn't realize the magnitude of his shot until the round was complete. Because he had aced the 154-yard BMW-sponsored hole, the payoff was considerably more than hearty congratulations - he'll be driving home in a 2013 BMW 325i.

Dennis, president of an automotive interior trim company, used a 7-iron to become the only player in the 13 years of the tournament to win a new BMW by acing the sponsored hole.

"The car never entered my mind," Dennis said. "I've been in events where there are cars given away, but it's got to be the right hole, it's got to be the right temperature and it's always somebody else that does it.

It also was a fairly special day for Mark Anderson, a University of South Carolina graduate who was one of a tournament-record four players to earn a share of the lead in the first round.

Anderson, playing at The Reserve at Lake Keowee, had seven birdies and an eagle en route to a 9-under 63. Hudson Swafford, a University of Georgia alum, also shot 63 at The Reserve while Zack Miller and Tour rookie Franklin Corpening both shot 9-under 62s at par-71 Thornblade.

Each of the four shot bogey-free rounds.

"It was nice to get a competitive round under my belt and go low," said Anderson, a Beaufort resident who was the 2003 S.C. Junior Amateur champion.

Anderson and Swafford will play Greenville Country Club's Chanticleer course today before wrapping up at Thornblade on Saturday and Sunday. Miller and Corpening play at The Reserve today and Chanticleer on Saturday before a final round back at Thornblade.

Matt Davidson, a 32-year-old Furman graduate who lives in Greenville, had the round of the day at Chanticleer, shooting a 7-under 65 and is in a six-way tie for fifth along with former Clemson golfer Ben Martin of Greenwood. Martin opened with a 65 at The Reserve.

But the day belonged to Dennis, a Bowling Green graduate who also happens to be a big Ohio State booster. In March, Ohio State began construction on the Jane and Walt Dennis Golf Performance Center, a new indoor practice facility that is set to open next January.

Thursday's ace was the fifth for Dennis, who was participating in the tournament for the first time.

"If you play enough, you're bound to get them," Dennis said.


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