SILVER LAKES — The Sunny King Charity Classic has quickly become a tradition for local brothers Tyler and Jason Romine.
This year marks the fifth time they’ve played the tournament, and they plan to continue it as long as they can swing a club.
“It something I plan for all year,” said Jason, “I put a little away each month for the entry fee, and when it comes time, I am ready.”
Added Tyler: “It is especially great to be playing with my brother. We just do not get to spend much time with each other anymore and this is a great family thing we do.”
The Romines entered the day one shot off the lead in the Third Flight. They caught fire in the scramble on the back nine at Silver Lakes on Saturday and posted five birdies in nine holes to carve out a 65 and positioned themselves two strokes back of the lead.
“We killed ourselves with a bogey on the front nine, but we were on fire down the stretch. It feels really good to actually have a chance on Sunday,” Jason said.
Anniston’s John Acker and Andrew Tyson were paired with the Romines on Saturday and shook off some early bogeys to rally and post a 2-under-par 70 for the day.
“We love playing in the tournament for the fellowship and meeting people,” Acker said. “We came well prepared with music, beverages, ice chest and a mister to keep us cool.”
SILVER LAKES — Tournament worker Cody Fortenberry was providing great service yesterday as golfers pulled up to the curb at Silver Lakes Golf Course for their second round in the Sunny King Charity Classic.
A 2011 graduate of Pleasant Valley, he said he really enjoys what he does as he assists the golfers getting their clubs to the cart, picking up golfers at their car, dropping them off at their car, giving instructions on where to go and any other task they may need.
“I really love it here and have been here a month and a half and it is exciting to be a part of the Sunny King tournament and be helping the golfers when they arrive,” a smiling Fortenberry said.
Fortenberry is a student at Jacksonville State University majoring in psychology. He played golf in high school for his Raiders.
“We had some success while I was there and I started playing on the golf team in the seventh grade,” he said. “I get to play a lot of golf out here at Silver Lakes and that is really cool and hope one day I can play in the Sunny King tournament.”
OXFORD — It’s another year, another cross-country trip for George Calkins to play the Sunny King with son Clay.
Clay, 49, a training specialist for FEMA at McClellan and former assistant pro at Cane Creek, and George, 76, a retired high school principal and former football coach and athletics director who lives in Penn Valley, Calif., stand at 17-under-par 127 after Saturday’s second round. Playing, they shot an 11-under 61 at Silver Lakes on Friday and a 6-under 66 at Cider Ridge on Saturday.
They’re tied with two other tandems for fourth in the First-Acura MDX Flight, four shots back of leaders Chris and Nick Hubbard.
The Calkinses will conclude their fourth Sunny King together (third in a row) at Anniston Country Club today.
The two see each other a couple of times a year, and Clay plays in an invitational with his dad back in California. The Sunny King “is a huge occasion for us,” Clay said.
“It’s a year-long thing for us,” he said. “We plan it every year, and he comes out.
“He’s 77 years old, so it’s not going to be too many more years that he’s going to be physically able to play. We make the most of this time we have now to do it.”
George, who lives just northeast of Sacramento, gladly makes the four-and-a-half-hour flight.
“It’s great to be able to spend a couple of days with your son, especially on the golf course and all,” George said. “It’s always been special to me to be able to play golf with Clay.
“He’s a great player, and we have a great time together, and we have a lot of fun.”
Lewis Roberts is a busy man these days. He’s been spending the last few weeks upgrading the recently purchased Indian Oaks Country Club. He also is a full-time official in high school football, basketball and baseball.
Roberts and Dennis Braden won the inaugural Sunny King Charity Classic in 1977 when the tournament was named the Sam Byrd Invitational. He said he hasn’t missed a tournament in all those years, even winning again in 1986.
“I haven’t done it as much as I use to, when I first started playing,” Roberts said. “When I was a newlywed, I played four days a week while officiating and coaching baseball as well, so I’ve always been busy.
“I’ve had a lot of good people helping out, that’s the only way it’s been possible.”
Roberts and Neal Barker, Roberts’ youngest son-in-law, shot a 70 on the first day and followed it up with a 73 on Saturday, which leaves them 10 strokes behind the leaders in the Fifth Flight. Barker is also the head basketball and tennis coach at Spain Park High School.
“I’d say we’ve been below par, not quite at bogey but pretty close,” Roberts said when asked about his team’s performance. “We have to get the swing back, stay down on the ball, and hit through it, so we can play well tomorrow.”
Like father, like son
For Russ Montgomery, being a high school basketball official was something it seems he was meant to do, because his father was one as well.
After spending 10 years on the floor as a referee, Montgomery decided to hang up his whistle and take a seat at the scorer’s table at Weaver High School, where he keeps the clock for home basketball games. His dad does the same during basketball games at White Plains High.
However, there is something else Montgomery can thank his dad for — raising him around the game of golf.
“My dad got me in to golf,” he said. “He grew up playing golf, and he got me on the course, so I grew up playing as well. I use to play three or four times a week, but now I play about five or six times a year.”
Despite the decrease in playing time, Montgomery and his eight-year playing partner, Tim Bentley, have shot a combined 135 after the first two days of the tournament. They sit two strokes back of the leaders in the Sixth Flight.
“On Friday I usually play OK, because I don’t think about everything like you do if you play every day, but Saturday and Sunday, it’s usually a struggle,” he joked.
Montgomery plans to play in the Buddy Moore Charity Golf Tournament in late August and a few church outings to finish the year, but said he won’t see another tee until the Sunny King Charity Classic next summer.
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.