As the first alternate from the Monday qualifier, former Walker Valley High School and Tennessee Wesleyan College golfer Cody Godfrey had two options in the Southern Amateur tournament at The Honors Course.
He either would be in the field or be the caddie for good friend and former TWC teammate Keoni Vidrine of Delano, Tenn.
He indeed walked with Vidrine in the first round Wednesday, but he did so while carrying his own bag. Amazingly, the no-show from Missouri whom Godfrey replaced was in the same group as Vidrine.
"It couldn't have been any cooler, the way it worked out," said Godfrey, who showed up at the Ooltewah course at 6:30 a.m. and began going through his usual pre-tournament routine, just in case he got to play.
"I've never been in this situation before, so I didn't know what to think," Godfrey said after completing a 6-over-par 78, two shots behind Vidrine. His other former TWC teammate in the tournament, Josh Wheeler from Maryville, also shot 78 after making the field with a 70 in the Monday qualifying event.
"I walked down to the [Southern Golf Association] RV, and Ashley [Looney, the SGA assistant excecutive secretary and tournament director] told me not everyone had registered," Godfrey added. "That lifted my spirits.
"She said she was pretty sure I would get in -- she had seen this so many times before -- but she didn't want to give me false hope. Anyway, I prepared as if I was going to play."
Vidrine, who showed up at 8 a.m. about for his 9:20 tee time, already had lined up another TWC golfer, Tyler Reynolds, as his caddie for Thursday, since Godfrey was determined to wait through every morning and afternoon tee time if necessary.
But at about 9:15, Vidrine said, only he and one other member of the scheduled threesome were at the No. 1 tee box, waiting to start. He called Godfrey over from the nearby putting green and told him the situation, and sure enough, the two buddies suddenly were playing together.
"I got off to a rough start. I bogeyed [Nos.] 2 and 3," Vidrine said. "And then I settled down but missed two 4-foot putts for birdies on 9 and 10. That kind of shot my confidence with the putter. I played pretty decent and I hit it good -- I just didn't put it all together."
For Godfrey, "Just about the whole day was good, but three holes hurt my round," he said.
He double-bogeyed Nos. 4 , 7 and 15, to go with three bogeys countering three birdies.
"On No. 9 I had a good shot into the green but caught a bad break and bogeyed," he said, referring to his approach that landed about five past the cup but couldn't stay on the ridge of the green and rolled down into a bunker.
He also closed the back nine with a bogey.
"When you have a long day like I had, the last five or six holes you have to use every ounce of energy to stay focused," he said. "But I won't blame my score on that.
"I was just happy to be playing at all."
The same groupings will be used today, with morning and afternoon times flipping. Vidrine and Godfrey will tee off at 2:20 p.m. and try for improvement to make the cut.
Contact Ron Bush at email@example.com or 423-757-6291.