By Adam Prudhomme
Josh Whalen eclipsed Sam Snead’s 58-year-old course record on Friday, carding a 62 over 18 holes at the Napanee Golf and Country Club.
Whalen’s score bested the World Golf Hall of Famer’s record of 63, which had stood as the club’s best round since Aug. 30, 1959.
The record is a particularly meaningful one for Whalen, as NGCC is his home course. Its greens are where he developed his love for the game that carried him to a scholarship at Kent State in Ohio.
“I remember I shot 64 on the front nine the first time by myself and I was maybe 16,” said Whalen. “That was the first time I thought I could actually sweep that score out there. Every time since I was 16, when I went out to play it was on my mind. When I got playing well I’d start thinking about it. Maybe that was the issue on why it took so long.”
Now 22, he can rest easy knowing his name is finally attached to the record.
“It was kind of unexpected since I was only -1 through the first nine,” said Whalen. “I was a little nervous coming up to the last couple, that’s for sure.”
Whalen was at 34 his first trip through the course on Friday and closed out with 28 strokes on the back nine. He began his second trip with an eagle on Hole 10 and picked up birdies on 11 and 12 to start building momentum, putting him -5 with six to go.
“That’s when I first kind of thought, ’I have a chance to do it today,’” said Whalen.
Bing Sanford and Dale Alkenbrack were with Whalen when he broke the record.
“The day before we played and (Sanford) said ‘you playing tomorrow?’ and I said yeah sure I’ll play,” said Whalen. “I woke up and I kind of hesitated about going but I told him I’d be there so I thought I’d be better go.”
That turned out to be a wise decision.
When not golfing in major tournaments, Whalen works the pro shop at the NGCC where he says he was always being razzed by other golfers wondering when he was going to break the record.
“I was joking with Milt (Rose, manager of NGCC) that I think I’ll feel a little more at ease and more comfortable now when I’m out there now that I finally did it,” said Whalen.
Or he might go in a completely different direction and end on a high note.
“I joked I might just go home and never come back,” said Whalen