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Issue 72 - April 24

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Thompson teesoff "Alabama's Golf Insider" teesoff Thompson teesoff 4.24.14 All the latest news from the local golf scene... ...Next WEEK! The name Ben Martin may not be familiar to that many Alabama natives, but this PGA Tour player is especially familiar with the University of Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa. Allow me to tell you why. Martin's father Jim attended Alabama in the mid- 70's, as did his brother Les, a couple of years later. "Our family grew up in Brewton and had long been indoctrinated in Alabama football," Jim Martin, who lives in Greenwood, S.C., said. "Ben was a very good player (in high school), but not a nationally ranked player," Martin continued. "He never played outside of our home state of South Carolina except in two U.S. Juniors and thus was not heavily recruited." The timing was such that Ben, now 26, was com- ing up around the same time as Alabama golf coach Jay Seawell was just getting his feet wet in his then- new job. (Another South Carolina connection is that the Seawell family is from the Palmetto State). In due course Martin, who indicated when we talked last year after a Tour win that he would have been flattered by a serious Alabama of- fer, ended up at Clemson, a highly touted golf pro- gram in its own right. He was part of a large class of five incoming fresh- men and proved he made the right choice by being a four-year starter (after his redshirt freshman year), earning All-Conference awards three years and Hon- orable Mention All-American his senior year. Jim Martin remembered Ben's first college event vividly. "It was Georgia's event at The Farm and Ben shot 64 in only his second round of college golf. It came to the last day and Clemson were paired with Ala- bama in the final wave. It was the first time in my life that I didn't cheer for the Crimson and White!" Ben has also played in two U.S. Opens and a Masters. The first Open and the Masters appearance were courtesy of his runner-up finish in the 2009 U.S. Amateur, while he qualified for the next Open. Upon graduation in 2010 he played the e-Golf Tour with some success, before breezing through all three stages of "Q" School. He had his PGA Tour card fresh out of college. He played solidly enough in 2011, but did not re- Click our Icon to Subscribe! Ben Martin Ben Martin is making his mark on the PGA Tour

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