ELIZABETH — Daneen Shears recently ticked off a major entry on her bucket list, and her daughter made her professional debut last week with a nice salary.
Not a bad way to spend the summer playing golf.
New to the senior realm as a member of the West Virginia Golf Association, Shears overcame a three-stroke deficit after the first round of the US Senior Championship in Pipestem. Shears was the only person in the championship flight to break 80 in the final round and posted a 3 of 75 to win his first WVGA-sanctioned title with a two-day total of 154.
First-round leader Karen Kinnett of Shepherdstown placed second six strokes behind Shears.
“I competed in the state regular Ams and finished third, but this is my first time playing the senior Ams,” said Shears. “I always wanted to win something with the WVGA. It was very exciting afterwards. I couldn’t say much.
Alongside Shears throughout the trip, his caddie was his daughter Adeena Wilcox, a former Parkersburg South standout who played collegiate golf at Ohio State University and has five State Am championships.
“Adeena was definitely my rock” said Shears. “It was very strange because Karen wasn’t in our lead group for the final round. She’s a very good player and if she still has to shoot 76, I knew I should shoot even and shoot the lowest round possible.
After the round, Shears was formalizing her scorecard without knowing where she stood in the standings.
Meanwhile, her daughter looked up at the live scores, made eye contact with her mother, and said the words, “You win.”
“I looked at Adeena and was so scared – she was crying and I asked her if she was okay,” said Shears. “After she told me I won, we hugged and started crying. Adeena, absolutely, was my rock.
“Trying to win regular State Am has been tough for me every year because of nerves. But I got this one. I finally won a WVGA event.
Shears gave herself plenty of scoring opportunities, which kept her in contention. Starting with the last six holes of her first round and continuing with her first five holes of the second round, she played the Pipestem Resort course at 1-over. His last two holes of the tournament were a birdie and a par.
“Normally I don’t like to watch golf, but there’s something about being a caddy that makes it all different and wanting your mom to be successful.” said Wilcox.
Two weeks later and the US Senior Championship trophy lay peacefully in the Shears home, it was the girl’s turn to test her mettle at her first professional tournament – the PGA of Michigan Women’s Open in Thompsonville, Michigan . Almost a year had passed since Adeena Wilcox last played golf in a competitive setting.
No sign of rust showed in her game as Wilcox completed rounds of 73, 72 and 74 for a three-day total of 3 of 219. She tied for ninth and received 2 $200 for his efforts.
“It was just nice to be in a tournament as a professional after all those years of playing as an amateur,” said Wilcox. “I didn’t have many thoughts before the tournament. I just wanted to play the best I could. »
Going into the final round, Wilcox moved up the leaderboard and sat in third place. Sarah White of Caledonia, Michigan, took her game to another level over those final 18 holes and posted a 9-under 63 and won the championship by a four-stroke margin,
“I can’t say I didn’t see the standings in the last round. I reviewed what happened that night and knowing I was in third place, it was a great feeling.” said Wilcox.
Wilcox, who taught at Wood County Christian for the past school year, is stepping away to return to the sport she loves so much. She plans to teach lessons and polish her own game at the same time. Wilcox plans to remain in a classroom environment with virtual tutoring.
For the rest of this summer, the 24-year-old from Mineral Wells is expected to take part in another professional stoppage later this month. She will travel to Crossville, Tennessee, and join the Tennessee Women’s Open Championship field at Stonehenge Golf Course (July 21-23).
“I love competing in this game and I love being on the golf course,” said Wilcox.
When it comes to any maternal advice, Daneen Shears always felt confident her daughter could excel on the ties – even when COVID wreaked havoc on the college golf season at the end of her daughter’s career with the Buckeyes. .
“At the Michigan Open, I knew Adeena would do well – her mental capacity at a tournament is better than anyone I’ve been around,” said Daneen Shears. “I always told her she should do something with this game.”
Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]