SILVERS CONNECTS WITH LOCAL FAMILY FRIEND
She may be greater than 850 miles from home, but Carleigh Silvers (Martinsville, Indiana) has a unique connection to the Sunflower State that was renewed on Wednesday evening at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course ahead of the fifth annual Garden City Charity Classic.
More than 70 players from nine local southwest Kansas high schools attended a clinic hosted by 25 Symetra Tour professionals, including Silvers. One of the amateurs was Goodland High School junior Peyton Belden.
Silvers’ mother Lori and Belden’s grandpa Jim Seitz both work for Banner Medical Group in Greeley, Colo. Even though their family has known each other for an extended time, Silvers and Belden just met a few years ago.
“I always heard my mom talk about her, she was like, ‘This guy I work with, his granddaughter is into golf,’ so I always heard about her and when I got to meet her it was pretty cool,” said Silvers, a 2014 University of Northern Colorado graduate. “Obviously, I don’t know anyone else in Kansas, especially the Garden City area. She is such a sweetheart, and we’ve kept in touch through Instagram and Snapchat messaging.”
Following yesterday’s event, Silvers gave Belden a pair of her FootJoy Aspire women’s golf shoes. It’s just part of how their friendship has evolved since they met. Last year was the first time Belden came out to watch Silvers compete and she’ll be back this weekend to watch her friend, who has also served as a mentor.
“I think it’s pretty awesome, pretty inspiring,” said Belden, who is originally from Greeley and moved to Goodland in 2010. “Carleigh definitely inspires me to want to be like her.”
Tomorrow, Silvers opens play in the Garden City Charity Classic at 12:40 p.m. CT off No. 10 tee paired with Kelly Tan (Batu Pahat, Malaysia) and Kate Machado (Scottsdale, Arizona).
SISTER-BROTHER CONNECTION IN THE SUNFLOWER STATE
It’ll be a family affair for a couple members of the Volvik Race for the Card top-10 this week, as Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England) and Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) both welcome their brother to Garden City, Kan. as their caddy for the 17th stop on the Symetra Tour schedule.
The experience will be a first for Thomas and brother Robbie, who got a taste of what to expect at Wednesday’s Pro-Am event.
“He was great giving me the putter and the driver,” Thomas said laughingly. “He didn’t clean my ball, but ate some cookies. It was solid and I’m impressed he made it the whole round, it was a long day.”
While Robbie has never been on the bag for Thomas, they have worked together before, just the other way around. Several years ago at a junior tournament back in England, Robbie hit his golf ball into heavy rough. He planned to head back to the tee and verbally declare it lost. However, Thomas strolled over the ball and picked it up, leading to a two-stroke penalty.
They can laugh about it now, but Thomas hopes Robbie can learn from her past mistake this weekend. Coming off a Symetra Tour career-best finish of solo second at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge, Robbie is simply eager to help his older sister continue to play consistently.
“Well, I have never actually caddied so I am just excited to do that and see a little bit of middle America,” said Robbie, who graduated from the University of Melbourne last December. “We used to play a fair bit, but I gave it up when I was about 17 and she’s kept it going. I’m now working for IMG doing event management and am based in Singapore.”
For Gabsa and her brother Pascal, the Garden City Charity Classic won’t be their first go-round. He has been caddying for sis dating back to the middle of her amateur golf days in 2008. Their first professional event together was when Gabsa competed at Ladies European Tour (LET) Q-School in 2012.
“I wouldn’t do it for anyone else, it’s just a family thing,” said Pascal, who used to compete professionally on the Pro Golf Tour for a couple years before a left wrist injury forced him to give up playing the sport on a regular basis. “There’s a bone that was growing into the hand and nobody wants to do surgery because it’s a 50-50 chance I couldn’t use my hand anymore. It was a pretty simple choice to not even try anymore.”
Between Gabsa, Pascal and their other brother Elia, the game of golf has strong roots with their family back in Germany. Having a family bond lead the way, Gabsa hopes to take a lesson or two from what her brothers have taught her over the years into Garden City.
“He [Pascal] is a really good golfer himself and knows my game pretty much the best from the whole family, or even my coach,” said Gabsa, currently No. 5 in the Volvik Race for the Card. “It’s a trust thing and taking my brother’s advice. We don’t play that often anymore because I am only home in the winter. Now it’s like I am beating him, or I’m up and he starts [smack] talking and then I fall apart a little bit. I definitely learned that from my brothers.”
Thomas and Gabsa tee in back-to-back groups off No. 10 tomorrow starting at 1:35 p.m. CT.