WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
Saturday’s soggy conditions couldn’t dampen the spirits of 11-year-old Kassidy Hatcher of Williamsburg, who continued her family’s recent tradition of volunteering at the LPGA’s Kingsmill Championship.
Kassidy, a sixth-grader at Hornsby Middle School, followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Tawni, and her father, Greg Hatcher, both of whom have volunteered in past tournaments as standard bearers — those folks who walk along with each group of golfers holding aloft a mobile scoreboard.
Greg Hatcher began the family tradition of volunteering at the tournament, held each year at Williamsburg’s Kingsmill Resort, by serving as a doorman at a hospitality tent on the 17th hole in 2012. Two years ago, he was given the chance to serve as a standard bearer, and he’s been doing so ever since.
Tawni, a senior golfer and tennis player at Lafayette High School, followed her father’s lead by volunteering at the Kingsmill Championship for the past four years. But she had to miss this year’s tournament due to other commitments.
“I did it initially to get Tawni involved,” Greg Hatcher said. “She took off with it and kept doing it, and now she’s passed the torch to Kassidy. I think (Kassidy) will probably stick with it and do it for a while.”
For Kassidy, watching her father and older sister participate in the Kingsmill Championship made her want to do the same. After four years of waiting, her turn to walk the course as a standard bearer finally arrived Saturday.
While not big enough to hold the mobile scoreboard, which is taller than she is, Kassidy was tasked with keeping track of each player’s strokes and updating the scores after each hole.
Having the opportunity to interact with some of the world’s best female golfers and to see everything the River Course at Kingsmill has to offer has been a memorable experience for a youngster who has been golfing for six years and aspires to one day hit it like the pros.
Kassidy’s first volunteer stint at the Kingsmill Championship began on a high note Saturday when, after a rain delay of more than two hours, she learned she’d been assigned to a foursome that included the tournament’s defending champion, Minjee Lee.
Leading up to the tournament, Kassidy had been hoping for the chance to walk the course with Lee.
“I think it’s awesome,” Kassidy said of receiving her desired pairing. “That was my first choice this year, because [Lee has] been really good this year and last year.”
While walking the rolling hills of Kingsmill Resort can be tiring, especially when having to slog through muddy conditions, Kassidy never lost her chipper demeanor throughout the round.
During those times when she interacted with one of the golfers, Kassidy’s infectious smile spread through the crowd to her father, who proudly followed along.
As he watched the action unfold from afar, Greg Hatcher couldn’t help but be overcome with joy. It was a “special” experience, he said, adding that he was delighted to share his passion for golf with his youngest daughter.
It’s an experience he hopes and expects to be able to share for years to come.