Teen Shifts Focus From Football To Golf

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After turning in a solid football season for the Longhorns, Billy Bob Hoyt is now focusing his athletic attention on a golf career that could lead him to a professional career.

The Payson High School junior's most recent outing was Jan. 4 and 5 at a Plantation Golf Tour tournament near Charleston, S.C.

According to Hoyt's father and coach, Bob, the Plantation Tour is the major junior golf tour in the country.

On the first day of play at the Osprey Point Course at Kiawah Island, Hoyt managed a third-place finish while competing in the boys 16- to 19-years age division.

The entire field of players, Bob Hoyt said, battled "terrible weather, overcast skies and winds in the 30 to 40 mph range."

On the second day of the Plantation battle, tournament action shifted to a course Hoyt had never seen before -- Kiawah Island Turtle Bay.

Because winds continued and frost covered the course, play was held up for an hour.

When action resumed, Hoyt struggled on the front nine.

On the back nine, however, he recovered to finish the tournament one-under-par.

"He could have been at least two under," Bob Hoyt said, "but he put a ball in the 17th hole water hazard."

Hoyt's greatest effort might have come immediately after that miscue.

On the 18th hole, he hit a 285-yard drive and a follow up 9-iron shot that traveled 150 yards. Those two gems left him one foot shy of the flag.

"He tapped in for a birdie to tie for the second-place trophy," Bob Hoyt said.

Hoyt's card of 156 was seven strokes behind champion Zac Tilton of Evans, Ga. He won the contest in a chip off for second place against Raymond Wooten of Clemson, S.C.

Hoyt says he is happy with the runner-up finish, but the real thrill was playing against teens from so many states.

At Wigwam

Only two weeks after the football season ended in November, Hoyt returned to the Plantation tour for his first major tournament of the winter season.

Playing the Wigwam course in Goodyear, Hoyt struggled to regain his playing form of last year.

"A three-month layoff for football made the going tough," his dad said. "He needed to get his touch back."

Although he wasn't at his best, Hoyt played well enough to card a 158 (77 and 81) and finish as the tournament runner-up.

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