Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Golf Notebook; Duo Heading to Las Vegas for Topgolf Event

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Golf Notebook; Duo Heading to Las Vegas for Topgolf Event

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Trey Sanders and Bret Benjamin are members at the Jacksonville Golf and Country Club, have plus-handicaps and posted top-25 finishes recently at the Jacksonville Area Golf Association Amateur Championship.

In other words, they're better than most.

However, the two proved adept at another fast-growing alternative to the 18-hole golf experience. They recently topped a field of 36 two-man teams at the Jacksonville Topgolf to advance to the Topgolf Tour Championship Oct. 14-16 at Las Vegas.

Sanders and Benjamin finished second in the first round of qualifying, which was composed of three games that awarded points for hitting targets at the Topgolf facility. The top eight teams advanced.

They followed that up by winning the championship round, coming from behind in the second game, "Top Contender," in which they had to hit two shots each to targets at 50, 95, 125, 185 and then the back area of the range, known as "the Trench."

Sanders and Benjamin defeated former Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee and Lucas Carpenter by 26 points to win the Jacksonville championship. In Vegas (where their expenses are paid), they will play at the MGM Grand Topgolf on the Strip for a first prize of $50,000.

Oddly enough, the two had been to Topgolf only a handful of times.

"We consider ourselves good golfers but we didn't have much experience at Topgolf," Sanders said. "I went to it right after it opened but I've been there only two or three times at the most."

Benjamin said he visited the facility once before the competition.

"It's so new and I never found the time to go there more," he said. "But I'm a range rat and love hitting balls. We have games we play at the range at Jacksonville Golf and Country Club all the time but to be able to stand in air conditioning, under cover, and have those target to aim at is pretty fun."

Both players said they scored the bulk of their points when hitting at the 150-yard target, using knock-down 7- or 8-irons. In the first of three games in the qualifying round, they combined to hit the middle of the 150-yard target 20-of-20 attempts.

"We played to our strength early," Benjamin said. …

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