Trip to Masters Gift For Local Young Golfer
Reading this fall about young Rector golfer Kade Scott in the Clay County Times-Democrat rekindled a lot of great memories for Piggott native Joe Mowery.
Mowery, now living in Little Rock and working with the Stephens Inc. investment firm, decided he wanted to meet Scott and visit with him about his recent accomplishments. The RHS senior recently successfully defended his state Class 2A golf championship and went on to tie for sixth in the state Overall Tournament, competing against athletes from much larger schools.
"I have heard a lot of really good things about you and I just wanted to meet you in person and congratulate you for what you have done," Mowery told the young golfer.
Mowery also notched two consecutive Class 2A golf championships as a Piggott Mohawk in 1982-83 and competed in the Overall Tournament. He also won the state Arkansas State Golf Association Junior Championship the summer after he graduated from PHS.
Mowery, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Mowery of Piggott, graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville before beginning his successful business career.
In addition to visiting with Scott about his golf game, Mowery delivered a surprise bombshell that resulted in loud applause from those in attendance at the RHS gymnasium. He started by telling young Scott about some of his experiences while attending the annual Masters Tournament at Augusta, Ga. (deemed by many the most prestigious golfing event in the world) and then informed him that he is providing coveted entrance badges and lodging for the final two days of the 2016 tournament.
Scott was stunned by the announcement and broke into a wide smile as Mowery presented him a Masters cap to wear next spring at Augusta.
Present for the meeting with Mowery were Kade's parents, Mike and Penny Scott, his brother Alec and other family members. Mr. and Mrs. Scott knew ahead of time that Mowery was springing the Masters surprise on their son, but they succeeded in keeping it a secret until the Monday afternoon meeting.
The two weekend badges he is supplying to Scott can be interchanged at times during the golfing day and the family is discussing who will make the trip and how they will use the tickets.
Mowery told those assembled that another detail of Scott's success he found interesting was that both of them have a solid background at Sugar Creek Country Club in Piggott. "It's just a great thing that a couple of boys from Clay County were able to learn the game at Sugar Creek," he said. It was noted during the meeting that Scott played recently in the SCCC championship and carded a six-under 66 on the final day, one of the best rounds of his young career.
Scott is undecided about his college plans but hopes to continue competitive golf after high school. Mowery explained that he went out for the team at the U of A but eventually found he was not at the same level as "the John Dalys of the world". But he earned his degree there and has gone on to a very successful business career and still enjoys the game of golf (and has been very competitive in many tournaments on the amateur level).
"It is really important that you make the right decisions on your future education," he said to Scott and offered to provide him any advice he can on both golf and career directions going forward. "And the great thing about golf is that you can continue to enjoy playing it throughout your life," he added.
Present for the meeting were golf coach Matt Mills, superintendent Johnny Fowler, principal Wade Williams, athletic director Nate Henderson and many of Scott's student friends.
Despite being limited in his athletic endeavors by a heart condition, Scott has been very supportive of all sports at RHS, serving as a statistician-manager for both the football and basketball teams. "He really encourages and supports all his friends who play other sports," coach Mills said. "He is always there for them and that's one reason all of them are so excited about Kade's success in golf and support him so strongly."
"He's everything in a student and young man that any teacher or administrator could ask for," Williams said. "And he is an excellent son. He has represented our school tremendously both on the golf course at the various tournaments and just in his everyday life. We are all really proud of him."
Scott started going to the golf course with his dad when he was three years old. He has taken the instruction of his dad and also learned the game on his own through many hours of work and fun on the course.
Williams, who is an avid golfer, said Scott has the perfect temperament for golf and never gets frustrated or rattled. "He always is focused on the next shot."
He used that focus to card a 79 on the extremely difficult Pleasant Valley CC course in Little Rock, site of the Overall Tournament. Ironically, it is the home course for Mowery, who has been active in the club for many years. A business conflict prevented him from attending the tournament this year, he said.
Scott got off to a slow start in the tournament, but played the final 12 holes right at even par. "That's a very great accomplishment on that course, especially for someone who has spent most of his time playing at Sugar Creek," Mowery said.
The paths of the two Clay County golfers, competing some 30 years apart, truly are remarkable as they wove very similar patterns in their early days in the sport.
That their lives have crossed in this way is a tribute to a courageous and hugely-respected young man and also a successful businessman who never forgot his roots and is always looking for ways to help make others' lives happier and more meaningful.
The story and the experiences will continue at American golf's most hallowed ground -- The Masters, Augusta, Ga., April 2016.