Demopolis native to compete in U.S. Senior Open

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Colorado Springs will provide the backdrop of a dream for Cleveland, Ohio resident Walter Robertson as he steps onto the course of The Broadmoor Golf Club this morning for his 9:05 tee time.

The Demopolis native’s performance at the U.S. Senior Open qualifier in Flint, Mich. on June 30 punched his ticket to his division’s biggest stage.

“It means a lot. It’s like a dream come true,” Robertson said. “The last four years, I missed it by one shot.”

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The 56-year-old Robertson headed into the final hole in Flint, a 580-foot par 5, needing to pull of something improbable in order to keep his dream from proving elusive for yet another year.

“Coming to the last hole, I was one under par,” Robertson said.

Knowing the odds he faced, Robertson used his driver on back-to-back shots, reaching the green in two. Then, the improbable became reality when he connected on a 45-foot eagle putt to move to the top of the leader board at three under par. The round was good enough to ensure that Robertson was one of only two golfers who walked away from Michigan’s sectional qualifier with a spot in the Open.

But conquering the qualifying tournament was only one brief moment in Robertson’s long relationship with the game. Growing up in Demopolis, he paid little attention to the game outside of his duties at the Demopolis Country Club.

“I caddied there for a lot of years,” Robertson said. “During that time, golf didn’t even cross my mind. I was a basketball player.”

Robertson played basketball throughout high school, eventually competing in semi-pro leagues a few years later. He signed up for the armed forces delayed entry program in 1972, leaving Demopolis after his high school graduation. It was not until after his departure from Alabama that Robertson’s cousins in Cincinnati, Ohio turned him on to the game of golf. He took up the game while living in Chicago.

“I never played no golf course in Alabama,” Robertson said.

After moving to Cleveland, Robertson put down the game for a year, ultimately finding a course and rediscovering his stroke before turning pro in 1995.

Now, with 13 years of professional experience under his belt, Robertson is confident his travels and experiences have prepared him for the pressure he will face when he takes to the links today.

“I don’t have that problem,” Robertson said of the anxiety that accompanies many athletes performing in such arenas for the first time. “The bigger the crowd, the better I play.”