Press Thornton Future Masters tourney celebrates 60 years of history

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) Golfing can be a time honored tradition passed down from parent to child. It’s a game that takes patients, practice and trusting in oneself. It’s also a game of heritage, the Masters, the Open, the course at St. Andews just to name a few. In Dothan, the people of the Circle City have their own tradition. With another year, the Press Thornton Future Masters honors that tradition.

"When I was growing up, they didn't have any junior tournaments", said Dr. Press Thornton.

Growing up that the younger Press Thornton didn’t have a junior tournament in the area. He and his father would have to go to Montgomery or Panama City. The younger Thornton would follow his passion and that would allow him to receive a scholarship to play golf for the Louisiana State University Tigers which was all the way back in the 50's. But press Thornton’s father, would make sure his son, and future sons and daughters would have their own junior tournament in the Circle City.

And it was then that the Future Masters was born. 60 plus year later they're still going strong. The tradition of generation after generation of golfers playing is also very strong.

"We’ve had two or three generation of players", said Thornton.

"Back in the mid 80's I guess it was Wayne Player came from South Africa", said Johnny Culpepper, who’s one of the senior members.

Culpepper could also be considered somewhat of a historian of the event after all the years he’s put in. Not only could he remember Gary Player’s son coming to Dothan he also remembered the year more than 600 players competed. And once it was so dark, he was forced to hold a flashlight at the flag so golfers knew where they were hitting.

"We’d start at daylight, and tee them off and when we finished at night we'd have cars lined up along 18 putting lights on to be able to see to be able to finish", said Culpepper.

The Press Thornton Future Masters Tournament starts on Saturday and will run through the 24th at the Dothan Country Club.

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