Chris Babcock gives 9-year-old thrill, lesson at U.S. Open

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Chris Babcock gives 9-year-old thrill, lesson at U.S. Open

PGA Tour

Chris Babcock gives 9-year-old thrill, lesson at U.S. Open

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — If 9-year-old Matthew Stigliano ever qualifies for the U.S. Open, it will all seem familiar to the Florida elementary schooler.

Matthew was at Shinnecock Hills Friday afternoon watching the lone man on the range, qualifier Chris Babcock. It was 5 p.m. ET and Babcock had just shot 78-76 to miss the cut. But that didn’t matter to Stigliano. He stood outside the ropes behind Babcock mimicking his every swing. Babcock laughed.

“Did you enjoy watching today?” he asked, tossing Matthew a ball.

“Yeah,” the kid responded.

“Wanna hit some?” Babcock asked.

Babcock invited Matthew onto the range and handed him a pitching wedge. As his mother, Kellie Stenzel, looked on, Babcock gave the young boy a quick lesson.

A local police officer working security came over.

“Every player gets a police escort,” he said, and stood watch.

Eventually range staff arrived.

“This is awesome, we love to see it, but I’m afraid we can’t have people on the range,” a marshal said.

Matthew, who spends more time playing baseball and tennis, thanked Babcock, posed for a picture, and headed back outside the ropes.

Babcock encouraged him to keep working on his game. The chances of that are good: his mother, Kellie, is one of the top golf instructors in the country.


Update: Babcock Tweeted this in response to this story:

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