Andrea Sturdivant|Wednesday May 4, 2016


Former NC State Golfer, Kelly Mitchum has engaged in more than 20 PGA Tour events, but nothing quite like this week’s event in Charlotte of the Wells Fargo Championship.

Mitchum said, “It will be nostalgic, and a lot sourer than sweet,”.

Kelly Mitchum is the lead golf instructor at Pinehurst Golf Academy, Mitchum wouldn’t have been in the Wells Fargo field had it not been for the death of Mike Townsend, head golf professional from Kiawah Island, S.C. who was killed in a car accident last summer.  Mike Townsend’s victory in the 2015 Carolinas PGA Section Championship had won the Wells Fargo slot at Quail Hollow Club.

Back in March, Mitchum won the Carolinas PGA Head Professional title and the Townsend’s Wells Fargo berth.  Mitchum will be using the tournament this week to raise funds to help Mike Townsend’s family- his wife Katherine and her two children, 3-year-old Spencer and 1-year-old Ana Kate.

During the tournament donations to the Michael Townsend Trust Fund can be made by promising a dollar amount for the number of pars or birdies made by Mitchum during the tournament or a one-time contribution.

Mitchum said, “Mike has been memorialized in many ways and I wanted to find a way I could help the family financially.  “ A lot of people have charity events where they play a number of holes in a day or walk a number of miles.  I personally thought this would be another way of doing it.”

Mitchum is trying to make as many birdies and pars as he can to help out Townsend’s family by playing all four days.

Mithchum said, “There’s a lot of pressure, but this is for Mike Townsend and he was really looking forward to playing in a Tour event.  Unfortunately life sometimes doesn’t always go as planned or expected, as we all know.”

Michael Townsend was a former Methodist University All-American and a Garner native, he was the head pro at the Kiawah Island Club’s Cassique course.  Townsend had a four-shot win over fellow Kiawah Island Club pro Charles Frost in the Carolinas PGA Section championship on July 30 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  Townsend had the choice of either battling in the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro or the Wells Fargo.

However, some days later Townsend died in a single-car accident on Johns Island, S.C.  He was 32-years-old.

Carolinas PGA Section pros gathered to hit ceremonial tee shots into “Lake Townsend” at Bryan Park Golf Course in Greensboro having a ceremony honoring Townsend that was held in August.

Kelly Mitchum, 45, has participated in the PGA Championship four times and will be battling in his 25th career PGA Tour event.  Townsend’s win in March also obtained him a slot in the recent RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.

During the first two rounds Mitchum was partnered with flashy Bryson DeChambeau, the former U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion at SMU who was making his pro debut.

“He’s the real deal type of person, Mitchum said.  “He really has confidence in himself and he’s got all the shots.”

Kelly Mitchum, 1991 ACC champion at N.C. State and four-time All-American, made the slot at Quail Hollow in 2004 and said he is pleased by the golf course and the tournament setup.

“I feel fanastic about my game, “ he said.  “I need to break away from making any enormous errors, I need to make a few putts.”

Kelly Mitchum has become a YouTube prodigy because of his putting.  One of his videos on YouTube titled “The best 3-putt, ever” has received almost 800,000 views and another “Best 3-putt, ever?” has been broadly watched.

In the first round, he hits three consecutive putts, all with right-to-left breaks, all breaking off up in the same cup.  In second round, one swing of the putter sends three balls in three various directions, all landing in different cups.

Kelly Mitchum’s cup of tea at the Golf Academy at Pinehurst Resort is the short game, but he has said during the video tapings, “Some people had to be curious what is this guy actually doing?  Mitchum said it took about an hour to shoot the first video, but during the second and third hours on the second.

Mitchum is desiring to make a lot more putts this week. It will be excellent in more ways than more.

Source to Credit: The News & Observer, Author: Chip Alexander

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