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Rub of the Green

April 8, 2007

Rub of the Green: Travis Smith will be remembered for his exemplary qualities

TERRE HAUTE — Seldom, if ever, has Terre Haute witnessed an outpouring of shock, grief and sympathy that accompanied news of the tragic accident that took the life of Travis Smith earlier this year.

A phenomenal high school golfer, Travis had led his South Braves to a tie for runner-up honors in the 2006 IHSAA State Finals while finishing in a tie for fourth, individually. As a freshman, scholarship golfer on the Ball State University golf team, Travis had already made his presence felt in collegiate golf circles.

During his freshman year of high school, Travis was coached by Mark McCreery, a former South golf standout who had captained his 1989 South team that finished second in state finals competition. McCreery also played college golf at Indiana University.

Mark remembers, “Travis made some huge improvements in his golf game during the last half of his freshman year. He qualified for a starting position and fired a 73 in the state finals. When he had a good round going, he wouldn’t let it slip away.”

When business pursuits caused McCreery to relinquish his coaching duties after six seasons, another outstanding South golfer was ready to take over the reins. Chris Cassell, like McCreery, had led his South team to the state finals. He had gone on to play four years as a member of Western Kentucky’s golf team.

Under Cassell, Smith would make three more trips to the IHSAA State Golf Finals to become the only South golfer to participate in the state finals four straight times.

Along the way, Smith bettered South’s all time, 18-hole scoring record of 67 which had been held by David Callahan and had remained in place for more than 30 years. Smith’s record round was a 66 carded in a tournament at Coyote Crossing Golf Club in Lafayette. Later in the summer, Travis would add the Country Club of Terre Haute Club championship trophy to an already long list of golfing accomplishments.

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