A Rim country father and son have played their way to silver-medal laurels in one of the state's largest golf tournaments.
Contested over the course of two days last week at the Antelope Hills Golf Course near Prescott, the annual Father-Son Championship Tournament drew a field of 400 golfers that included Payson residents Kevin and Brandan Kelley.
On the tournament's first day, played at Antelope's north course, the Kelleys teamed up for a 78. The second day on the south course, the pair finished with a 75.
Their 36-hole total of 153 earned them second-place honors just three strokes behind the flight champions.
One of the shots that made the gold medal winner almost unbeatable was a second day hole-in-one.
"We watched it. We were walking past the green and I saw the shot," Kevin said. "I told Brandan, 'that shot's going to go in.'"
The champions hailed from Prescott and called Antelope Hills their home course.
A pair of the biggest obstacles that all players, regardless of where they were from, had to overcome were strong gusting winds that made every shot an adventure and an unusual tournament format.
Rules called for each father and son to hit a tee shot, but from the first lie, the participants alternated their shots.
"There was a lot of strategy involved ... you had to weigh out your options," Kevin said.
The Payson linksters' runner-up finish was the second time the pair have won a silver medal in the six years they have participated in the father/son shoot-out.
In 1999, the Kelleys who entered this year's tournament with an eight handicap also finished second.
Finishing as runner-ups twice against some of the best father/son teams in the state has produced many fond memories for the Kelleys.
But a practice round played just one day before the opening round of this year's fray yielded what Kevin says "is a once in a lifetime experience."
On the par 5, 525-yard first hole at Antelope Hills, Kevin and Brandan both carded rare Eagles.
Kevin finished with the eagle by virtue of a 60-foot chip shot that fell in. Brandan sunk a 40-foot putt for his eagle.
Sinking clutch shots and battling topnotch foes is nothing unusual for Brandan. Last season, he was a member of Payson High School's state championship golf team.
Next year, as a sophomore, prep coaches are predicting he could become one of the most promising young golfers in the state.