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Pucketts place 3rd in ESPN Challenge

Thursday, November 4, 2010

(Photo)
Frank Puckett (left) and brother Dan Puckett placed third in the ESPN National Challenge in Las Vegas recently.
LAS VEGAS-- Dan Puckett of Cloverdale, and his brother Frank, former Putnam County resident who now lives in Texas, made their way through two qualifiers in the ESPN National Golf Challenge and came up with the third best score in the final and third leg of competition held in Las Vegas.

Dan, retired school principal at South Putnam's Central Indiana Elementary School, and his brother Frank, grew up in Putnam County. They teamed up for a two round 66-69-135 score in the ESPN national finals held at the Paiute Golf Resort in October.

The winning team in the Open Net Division, where the Pucketts competed, registered a score of 131. Second place score was 134. There were about 50 two-man teams from all over the United States competing for Net Division honors.

Each team played a net best ball event. The golfers were assigned a handicap based on their established histories and respective results in the first two rounds of ESPN competition. Dan Puckett was given a five handicap; his brother Frank was assigned a three.

"I would've loved to have won," Dan said. "However, given the incredible competition and talent present throughout the tournament, I think we are fortunate to have done so well."

Dan, who plays regularly at Clover Meadows, is 59 years old. Frank, who is the oldest of five Puckett brothers who attended Fillmore High School, is 64 years old. They appeared to be two of the "most senior" aged golfers in their division.

Playing the 6,600-yard Paiute Sun Mountain Course on their first round of the finals, the brothers shot an impressive 34-32-66. That score landed them one shot out of first place.

Frank managed to shoot a gross 73 on his own ball, helping the team capture second place. But it was Dan who made the real difference by shooting 80, scoring three net birdies.

"Dan has always been a competitor," Frank said. "I covered sports for the Daily Banner when he was playing high school basketball. Since those days I knew he was at his best when the competition was toughest."

The Puckett team scored 34-35-69 on the final day at Paiute's Wolf Golf Course, reportedly the longest course in Nevada.

"Interestingly, we both played very well on the Wolf course, the toughest of the two," Frank said. "But birdies were the name of the game. We just didn't have enough birdies to win on the second day."

The host hotel for the event was Treasure Island. Registration and dinners following each round were staged at TI. ESPN's own Jim Kelley, a sportscaster who is known world wide, acted as master of ceremonies.