Sunday, July 01, 2001

Hall patterns game after Tiger

Winton Woods grad still learning to play patiently

By Malcolm C. Knox
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A red shirt may work for Tiger Woods in the last round of each golf tournament. But a redshirt year wasn't going to work for one of his biggest admirers, Kevin Hall.

        Ohio State University coach Jim Brown's plan was to wait a year before allowing the former Winton Woods High School golfer and St. Rita School for the Deaf graduate to compete. But with six tournaments left this past season, Brown put the freshman in the lineup.

        Hall came in 10th at the Marshall Invitational, then second at the Kepler Intercollegiate, his first two tournaments.

        Hall is deaf and speech-impaired and has a translator accompany him to tournaments and classes. Such accommodations were a big reason Hall and his family chose Ohio State.

        “OSU had more to offer as far as interpreters,” Kevin's father, Percy, said. “They've done everything they promised to do.”

        Hall earned a 3.3 GPA at OSU.

        “He's what I call a true student-athlete,” Brown said.

        Hall has no problems getting along with his teammates, Brown said, and has even taught them some basic sign language — “Good luck,” “Hello,” “Mom,” “Dad,” “Good morning” and “Nice shot.”

        In addition to improving his golf skills, Hall would like to be a role model for people with physical challenges. He sometimes has a gallery of hearing-impaired fans when traveling and playing in tournaments, his father said.

        “I'm tired of seeing physically challenged people sit home and not do anything,” Hall said, his father translating his sign language. “If they see me doing something good, maybe that will motivate them.”

        Hall, who likes to pattern his aggressive style after Woods', needs to work on his patience.

        Last week, Hall competed against more than 200 golfers in the Metropolitan Amateur Championship at Traditions Golf Club in Burlington, Ky. After shooting 1 under par on the opening nine holes, Hall finished the day at 4-over. He shot a 6 on the 10th hole and 7 on the 11th, both par-4s.

        “I lost my mind for a couple of holes,” Kevin said.

        On Tuesday, he played well on the first nine holes again, going 1-over, but finished the day at 6-over. On the par-5 12th hole, he shot for the green coming out of a bunker but went into Traditions' deep rough and took a 7.

        Hall, wearing a Buckeyes shirt and hat each day, finished the two qualifying rounds with a 154, two strokes from the playoff for the last position in match play. Hall also missed match play in last year's Met.

        “We talked to him about that,” Brown said. “I guess he tried to do some things on a couple of holes that he shouldn't have, and he paid for them. I told him he's too good of a player to be making double- and triple-bogeys.”

        Said Hall's mother, Jackie, “I guarantee you, when he gets that part of his game under control, you are going to read a lot about Kevin Hall.”


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