Cole Sutherland moved from Hilton Head Island to Charlotte when he was in sixth grade, which took away from the time he and his father had to play golf together.
His father, Tim, is a residential realtor with Charter One Realty in Hilton Head Island and is also a Class A PGA pro. Cole is now a 17-year-old rising senior at Providence High School in Charlotte, where he moved after his parents divorced.
The National Father & Son Classic presented by PGA Tour Superstore has given them a reason to join forces, and an opportunity to become champions together.
The Sutherlands defeated more than 300 other duos in the 20th version of the Father-Son, claiming the title Saturday by a stroke over Jeffrey and Taylor Bibbs of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., with a 14-under 202 in rounds of scramble, best ball and alternate shot.
The tournament featured teams from more than 40 states and five foreign countries.
“Being apart, it’s always fun coming here and competing and just hanging out with him. We don’t get to do that too much,” Cole said.
The Sutherlands opened the tournament with an 11-under 61 Thursday in the scramble format at Leopard’s Chase Golf Links but were six strokes out of the lead following a disappointing 72 Friday in best ball at Prestwick Country Club, which they said was set up at just 6,300 yards.
“I think both of us just pressed a little too much,” Tim said. “We’re both long-ball hitters and the course was really short so it took us out of our game a bit.”
They caught fire early in Saturday’s alternate shot format at Legends Resort’s Parkland Course, going 5 under through 11 holes to take a 3 up lead, and that allowed them to survive a couple three-putt bogeys down the stretch in a 3-under 69. “Today we worked as a team really well,” Cole said. “It was good today.”
The Sutherlands were playing in the Father-Son for the second time, having finished sixth overall last year.
“I told my son before we came I thought this year was our year to win this thing and together we pulled it through,” Tim said. “This format is kind of a fun format.”
For their win, the Sutherlands earned prizes including a trophy and golf bag, free entry into next year’s 21st Father-Son tournament, and entry and expenses aside from flights into the sold out European Father & Son Golf Championship.
This year’s event is being played from Oct. 23-28 at Almenara Golf & Spa Resort in Cadiz, Spain.
The Sutherlands don’t plan to miss it. It will require Cole taking a few days off from school, which he won’t mind.
“We’re going, most definitely. We’re looking forward to it,” Tim said.
Bryan and son Bryce Kendrick of Tennessee had won two consecutive Father-Son titles and three of the past four, and they tied for ninth this year at 9-under 207.
“They’re a great team,” Tim said. “We heard from quite a few people they were the team to beat, and we told ourselves this was our time, we were going to do it.”
Cole is on the golf team at Providence High. He has received some scholarship interest from smaller schools including Division III Greensboro College, and adding the Father-Son to his resume won’t hurt his recruitment.
Cole, who is 6-foot-3, had a growth spurt his sophomore year that adversely affected his game, but he bounced back as a junior, when he shot a 69 in the final round of his state championship, and is expecting a better senior season. “It’s in there, I just have to find it,” Cole said.
“He’s got the talent to play at any major college there is,” Tim said.