Featured foursome joins Lincicome

VIENNA – Decked out in green golf shirts with the words “31-under” printed on them, the featured foursome for Monday’s 42nd Sour Mash Memorial are not your typical lineup of golfers.

Usually dominated by males, three ladies from Parkersburg Country Club joined Gary Ferguson in earning the right to play alongside LPGA Tour professional Brittany Lincicome and PGA professional Scott Davidson.

At last year’s Sour Mash Memorial, Lori Williamson, Brenda Stauffer, Lisa Stafford and Ferguson posted a winning score of 31-under par 115 in the two-person best-ball format and captured the title by a four-stroke margin.

“I was stunned when I heard the news we won,” Williamson said. “There’s going to be a lot of people coming to watch and interact with Brittany, and that is kind of intimidating for us to be in the midst.”

Stauffer instigated the concept that a women’s team should be represented in the Sour Mash Memorial. She immediately asked Stafford and eventually Williamson added her name to the list. As the tournament crept closer, the women needed a fourth and they sought out the services Ferguson, who was another Parkersburg Country Club member.

“It seemed like every hole someone was doing well,” Stauffer said. “We all parred our first hole at No. 11, and it was then we knew it was going to be a good day.”

The awards banquet seemed like a blur for Stafford. It wasn’t until she arrived home later that evening that she realized her husband, Richard, shot one of his career rounds at the Sour Mash Memorial and carded a 1-over 74.

“He didn’t say anything until that night at home and I felt bad because he had been overshadowed by our success,” Stafford said. “He let me have my moment. That’s just the type of guy he is.”

When the galleries begin to pick up steam and collect additional onlookers once the tournament portion of the event is complete, that’s when the featured foursome go under the spotlight.

“I’ve known Brittany’s dad since high school, so it’s not like I’m playing against somebody I don’t know – it’s not like she is a total stranger,” Ferguson said. “But getting off that first tee will be hard. I hope I don’t dribble the ball on my drive, so once I get past that first shot I will be fine.”

Williamson compares this experience to her cello recital this past spring when she played with a strings group from Williamstown Elementary.

“I’m definitely a recreational golfer, but what an opportunity this is going to be,” Williamson said.

Stauffer is perhaps the most seasoned of the three female golfers. For the past two years, she has been listed in the West Virginia Golf Association’s magazine for most rounds of golf played during the course of one year. Two years ago, she ranked fourth among females and last year she ranked second after playing 168 nine-hole rounds.

Entering last week, Stauffer’s rounds of golf equaled 79.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I get to do, and should be so much fun,” Stauffer said.

Making a hole-in-one nearly 20 years ago in Charlotte, N.C., topped Stafford’s golfing achievements. But soon she will have an experience to rival that achievement.

“I just want to enjoy the moment and don’t get too stressed out,” Stafford said.

Ferguson had his mind on other duties last week since he served as a hole captain for the third straight year at The Greenbrier Classic.

“I’ve been messaging on Facebook with Brittany and told her we will see her in a few weeks – she is a great person and can’t wait to play with her,” Ferguson said.

All four golfers will have their own individual caddies. Assisting Williamson is her husband, Jeff; family friend Melissa Kirtley will be with Stafford; Parkersburg High School golfer and West Virginia Open participant Austin Davis joins Ferguson; and Parkersburg Country Club member Kim Kaplan is caddying for Stauffer.

Stafford’s 16-year-old daughter, Kendall, was originally scheduled to caddy for her mother but plans changed when she earned a West Virginia Governors School for the Arts scholarship to attend three weeks of school in Elkins.

“She was very upset, but I told her when the state selects you and schools is fully paid you are going to go,” Stafford said.