Wichita's Padgett Among Best in Kansas at 13 Years Old

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He's not nearly old enough to drive. But he's already had a lot of practice. After all, a golf course is just about the only place you'll find Wichita's Wells Padgett at summertime.

"I just get up at 9 or 10 in the morning and go (golf) until dark pretty much every single day," said Padgett.

Why? He's a kid. It's simple.

"Because golf is just fun," he says.

He's only 13 years old. But all of that practice - day in and day out at Reflection Ridge in West Wichita - led him to become the youngest qualifier for this year's Kansas State Amateur Golf Tournament. And even among the best golfers in the state, he's still not out of his league.

"They all hit the ball a long ways and I kind of want to be like them but really I am kind of even with them with my short game. That's really all the things I focus on."

It's an effective strategy. Padgett not only qualified for the State Am, but after 2 rounds of stroke play among the 156 golfers in the field, he actually made the cut, shooting a Day One 79 and a Day Two 74. When 82 golfers were turned away from advancing, Wells stayed at Sand Creek Station. The future Maize South golfer says, in a way, his age helped.

"I'm young and I don't have to really think about it too much," he says. "Up here (in my head) I'm pretty young so, no pressure."

Wells' parents, Phil and Connie, agree as they walk by his side through 18 holes of competitive play - his own gallery.

"We've kind of noticed he's playing better than most of the kids his age so it's kind of exciting to see him do well," says Phil, who first put a golf club in Wells' hand when he was 2 years old.

"He just started playing as soon as he could walk," said Connie. "With the little plastic 'Little Tikes' golf clubs. Our whole family golfs so he would always go along when my husband and the other boys would go play."

Not a bad way for a kid to grow up. And there's one huge additional benefit for a parent.

"At least you know where they're at," Connie said with a smile.

In the future, we are all likely to know where Wells is at. Just check the top of the leaderboard.

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