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Camillus youth goes for the green

By Kimberly A. Michalak

When John Michael Sullivan, 8, from Camillus was just 5 years old, his grandparents bought him a set of junior golf clubs. For John Michael sports were always important, but after receiving this fateful set of golf clubs in 2004, golf was elevated to its own plateau.

John Michael and his father, John, spend a lot of time on the golf course together, and John Michael's grandparents enjoy playing with him, as well.

Until recently, John Michael has never really played against kids his own age.

"He takes both group and private lessons, and his instructors told me that he has a lot of potential if he sticks with the game," John said. "He beats me 50 percent of the time."

John Michael recently got the chance to compete among his peers for the first time at the Mutual of Omaha Drive, Chip & Putt Challenge presented by the Golf Channel. On June 17 he competed against 16 other 7- to 8-year-olds at the Links at Erie Village in the regional semi final. The competition at the Links, which qualified him to go to the regional finals in Erie, Pa. There John Michael competed against eight other children in the 7 to 8 age group.

The competition was a harder, the circles were smaller to score points for the chipping portion for example, and only the top place finishers would move on to the national finals in Orlando.

After a day of tough competition and excitement a banquet was held to announce the winners. Again, John Michael came out on top.

"He was beaming and glowing with excitement," John said. "He got a large wooden plaque saying he was the regional final champion and he qualified to move on to the finals."

John Michael and numerous family members are going to travel with him to Orlando from Sept. 13 to 16 to support him and his fantastic achievement.

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