Ask most people who they think the favorites are for the 42nd edition of what is now known as the Mountain State Golf Classic and the name Timmy Boggs won’t likely come to their minds.
Fighting the doubters is nothing new for the former Woodrow Wilson standout golfer.
“It is a little bit of motivation for me because I have done well in a lot of other tournaments,” Boggs said. “I have won a lot of times, but I have never really contended in this tournament. I have been close a couple of times, but then I couldn’t seem to turn it on the last day.”
Presented in large part by Little General, The Mountain State Golf Classic is a three day golf tournament that serves as a local charity event. This year’s proceeds will benefit the Senior Friends of Raleigh General.
It seems like Boggs has played golf his entire life, and for good reason.
“I was four years old the first time I hit a golf ball. I had gone and watched my uncle Billy (Lane) play in the West Virginia State Amateur and I fell in love with it,” Boggs said. “I rode around that day in a cart with (Bob) “Wheel” Thomas and my cousin. I had a handful of broken tees in my pocket where they would drop them on the tee boxes. I loved it”
Lane would become a big influence in Boggs’ future golf success.
“Billy was a big influence on me. He took me out a few times when I was younger and got me my first set of clubs,” Boggs said. “He has been around the game so much. I was able to follow him and watch what he would do. I learned a lot.”
Golf and baseball were his sports until the age of 16, when fate forced a decision that led Boggs solely to the links.
“We were playing baseball over at Woodrow Wilson and a fly ball got caught in the sun and it hit me right in the nose,” Boggs recalled. “It broke my nose and knocked a tooth loose. That was it for me. My dad said I needed to make a choice and I said I was going the golf route because that hurt really bad.”
With golf as his main focus, Boggs tasted early success as a member of the 1995 Woodrow Wilson golf team which won the state championship that season.
“It was pretty awesome,” Boggs said.” We had guys like Mike Joyce, Shannon Spicer, Jason Spicer, Kenny Fly, Ty Barksdale, Adam Komisky, Darrell Matherly, Brian Showalter and John Roop. We really had a lot of great players.”
The early years were a battle for Boggs due to his small stature, but the lessons learned at that time paid huge dividends down the road.
“I played in high school, but I was so little and I couldn’t hit the ball very far. When I turned 20 or 21, the distance started to show up a little bit,” Boggs said. “Even though it was an early battle, it helped me with my short game. Being younger out there, I couldn’t reach the greens. So to shoot a good score, I would have to rely on my wedges and putting. Putting is definitely a strength most of the time.”
The most successful period for Boggs came in 2010 and 2011. During that time he won the Nicholas County Open in consecutive years. He also won the Cherry Hill Memorial in 2010 after winning it for the first time in 2007.
He made the 36-hole cut at the WV Amateur in 2011 and has qualified for the state’s most prestigious tournament on four separate occasions.
Boggs’ most successful event has been the Greater East Beckley Open which he has won 10 times. His first win in the GEBO came in ironic fashion.
“I finally beat Billy in my 20’s and the first time I won the GEBO it was against him. It was all because I started making putts,” Boggs said. “They started going in from everywhere.”
Coming off a third place finish this past weekend in the Wyoming County Open where he shot the lowest score by two shots on Sunday, Boggs is hoping to carry that strong play into the Mountain State Golf Classic.
“I am hitting it pretty good and I am pretty confident, but not overconfident,” Boggs said. “I will have to putt really well, drive it well and get some good breaks.”
The Mountain State Golf Classic starts Saturday at Grandview Country Club before moving to Glade Springs. Sunday’s round will be played at Stonehaven and the championship round will be contested on the Cobb Course Monday.