Mitchell McFarland has been playing golf for as long as he can remember, and playing competitively since he was "nine or ten years old." The experience is paying paying off and has helped the 12-year-old Wheelersburg native win the first four events of the Tri-State Junior Golf Tour. He won nine-hole events at Riveria Golf Club (W.Va.) shooting 34, at Ironton Country Club shooting 37, at Sugarwood Golf Club (W.Va.) shooting 38, and at the Elks Country Club shooting 37. He leads all players in the Player of the Year points race. McFarland, who is a member of the Portsmouth Elks Country Club, has been receiving a lot of positive attention for his golfing skills. "He is setting the standard for junior golf in our area," Tour Director Tyson Phillips said. "He is playing great and has a bright future in golf." McFarland has the resume to back up the praise he has received. He was recently selected as a Junior All-American on the Plantations Junior Golf Tour (PJGT), which is a national junior tour based out of St. Louis, Missouri. The tour has many former players now playing on the PGA tour. McFarland also recorded a top ten finish at the Tour Championship at Purdue University and completed the season ranked 5th in points for his division. Golf is McFarland's favorite sport, and he was thrilled able to meet his favorite golfer, Phil Mickelson, at the Memorial Tournament in Nearfield, Virginia. His father, Matt McFarland, was volunteering at the tournament when a rain delay forced the duo indoors. While inside, Mitchell McFarland said that Mickelson approached him and introduced himself, saying, "Hey, I'm Phil." After chatting, the two ended up striking a deal that resulted in Mitchell McFarland receiving a pair of Mickelson's gloves and an autographed putter cover in exchange for McFarland's promise to be nice to his sister for 90 days. Mickelson later decided Mitchell McFarland would only have to be nice to her for one day, joking that the goal of 90 days would probably be too difficult. McFarland said he is appreciative of the support he has received from those around him and offered thanks specifically to his parents, coaches, and the Elks Country Club.
ERIC KEPHAS can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 234 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org