by Jeff Skinner
It could be a momentous day at The Heritage in Hilton Head South Carolina today. Luke Donald leads defending champion Jim Furyk by a stroke and a host of others are within striking distance. Donald can attain the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings with a win and he would be a well deserved number one. But he isn’t the only story at The Heritage.
South Carolina native and cult hero, Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey is three strokes back and is hoping to become the first South Carolina native to win The Heritage. Two Gloves has earned a large following since his days as a mini-tour stalwart and his two appearances on The Golf Channel’s Big Break series.
Gainey is living the dream that many blue collar golfers can only imagine. He attended Central Carolina Technical College and then worked as an assembly line worker before trying to make it in professional golf. He turned pro in 1998 and spent years playing the mini tours trying to scratch out a living. This is his second full season on the PGA Tour and he is making the most of it.
After a rough start, missing three cuts, he has managed to make the cut in seven of his last nine tournaments including a season best fifth place finish at The Honda Classic. He also led the waste Management Open going into the final round until a triple bogey on the 16th hole dropped him to a tie for eighth. He sits at 65th on the PGA Tour Money List and has earned over $530,000 on tour this season.
Gainey’s passion for golf is only exceeded by his love for all things South Carolina, including his beloved University of South Carolina Gamecocks. He will be wearing their colors as he tries to win one for the home team today. “This is the one I want to win,” Gainey said. “Home state, and that’s what I want to do – win this one.”
He’ll have a bit of a home field advantage today and the southern gentleman will be giving it his all in the hope that his first win on the PGA Tour will take place in his dearly loved South Carolina.