In the fall, the student parking lot at Harper Creek High School (Battle Creek, Michigan) will be full of the usual assortment of used cars or hand-me-down wheels.
However, when Jack Kyger arrives for the first day of school next year, he just might be driving in his new Cadillac.
Kyger, who just finished his junior golf season at Harper Creek, will have a great story to tell to start his senior year in the category of “what did you do last summer?” He will start with the fact that he hit his first hole-in-one as a golfer. And then he can add, he won a $50,000 Cadillac in the process.
Playing in the Gene Lewis Hughes, Sr. Memorial Golf Outing, an event to raise money for the Battle Creek Cancer Care Center, Kyger came up to the ‘Win a Cadillac’ hole and knocked in a hole-in-one at Battle Creek Country Club.
“There was a sign saying you can win a car, and I didn’t even think about it, it was just another hole,” Kyger said. “Then they said, closest to the pin wins a TV, so I was just trying to leave a good putt for a birdie. I threw it past the hole and it spun back and it went in and they told me I won $50,000 or a car and we were all freaking out.
“To think you can win that much money with one shot, is crazy. We were just screaming and going crazy. We were five holes away, but they said they could hear us in the clubhouse.”
Kyger has the choice of taking the $50,000 Cadillac, from Superior Buick Cadillac, displayed at the hole or $50,000 in cash. He hasn’t decided, but for someone who will be thinking about college soon, it’s a tough decision to make. Kyger also added he has already spoken to the Michigan High School Athletic Association and he said, because the event happened in the summer, it does not affect his eligibility to play high school golf next year.
“I have to decide in the next couple of weeks and then we’ll have the big check and have some photos taken with the car,” Kyger said. “I haven’t made up my mind. But the way I think about it, no 17-year-old needs a brand new Cadillac to drive around in. I have a truck that gets me places. So, if I take the cash, I would probably put most of it away for college, but keep a little back to have a bit of fun, you know.”
The charity event is in the name of Gene Hughes, Sr., raising money to help the under insured, or people with no insurance, to take care of some of their costs. Over the years, it has raised over $150,000 for the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center for that fund.
“I’ve never seen this kind of thing happen at an event like this, certainly not our event,” said Gene Hughes, Jr. “To have a hole-in-one like this is a positive for our event. And to have the prize go to a young student-athlete makes it even better. It’s an awesome thing to happen to a young person, and, from what I understand, a well-deserving and great kid.
“My dad was an avid golfer, had cancer, and this is a great way to shine a light on his legacy and to fight cancer.”
Plans are currently in the works for the check passing presentation and/or handing over a new Cadillac to Kyger.
“I think it was crazy, it’s amazing,” said Traci Bohannon, store manager at Superior Buick Cadillac, who was the sponsor of the hole. “Some people think we don’t want anyone to get a hole-in-one and win the car. But that’s not true. We aren’t scared to have someone win, we want it to happen.
“But it doesn’t happen a lot. I’ve never seen it happen as long as I’ve been in the car industry, and to have it happen to someone so young, it’s great. It’s a win-win – great for us, great for Jack and great for the tournament.”
Kyger was playing in a foursome with his dad Chad Kyger, Harper Creek Superintendent Rob Ridgeway and Chris Kallgren, a three-time City Senior Golf Tournament winner.
His ace on No. 4 at the Battle Creek Country Club created great memories.
“I was with my dad for his first hole-in-one, the same distance that I hit mine. I was there with him and he was there with me, for my first, so that’s cool,” Kyger said. “I have been close before, hit the flag multiple times, left a couple a, inch or two inches away, but never in. So to have one finally go in, in a situation like this, is just crazy.”