LEXINGTON, Kentucky (July 6, 2022) — Eight-year-old Wells Downing carefully lined up his shot, took a deep breath and drove off.

The hall erupted with cheers from professional golfers, British athletes and spectators. Whether Wells fired or not doesn’t matter. A thousand watt smile is better than any hole-in-one.

It is the scene of the annual Mini Pro-Am tournament for the patients of Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH). Organized for the first time in 2018 in association with the Barbasol PGA Championship Played at the Keene Trace Golf Course in nearby Nicholasville, the tournament has become a favorite tradition for former and current KCH outpatients.

Pint-sized putters, assisted by volunteer ‘caddies’, tested their skills on a nine-hole course at the Central Bank Club in Kroger Field. Derek Ernst, Fabian Gomez, Gavin Kyle Green, Michael Lorenzo-Vera, John Merrick, Niklas Norgaard Moller, Andres Romero, Joel Stalter and Oliver Wilson, along with British coaches and student-athletes, cheered them on.

“There’s so much energy,” said professional golfer Oliver Wilson. “It puts things into perspective. They’ve been through a lot and they’re just here to enjoy the day. It feels good to give back.”

Due to ongoing COVID-19 visitor restrictions, the tournament was held at Kroger Field for the second year. Current hospital patients joined in the fun on a course set up in the KCH rec room, where PGA golfers stopped by to offer putting tips and encouragement.

“Some of the kids are really good,” Wilson said. “The great thing is that the score doesn’t matter. We make it too serious and they have fun. We could probably learn more from them than they could from us. “

“The Mini Pro-Am has become one of our favorite events, and it’s such a fun opportunity for our patients and their families to interact with some of the game’s greatest players,” said Scottie B. Day, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Kentucky Children’s Hospital. “Being one of the charitable recipients of the Barbasol PGA Championship is an honor in itself, but bringing these golfers in and spending the afternoon with our patients goes beyond their commitment to the children of our community.”

KCH is one of the beneficiary charities of the Barbasol PGA Championship will be held July 7-10 at Champions at Keene Trace in Nicholasville. The tournament will be broadcast live daily on the Golf Channel and is one of 45 regular season tournaments leading up to the FedEx Cup playoffs. PGA Tour events have generated more than $2.65 billion for charity, including more than $125,000 for Kentucky Children’s Hospital.