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Cox kicks off Hundred Hole Hike with 9 holes Sunday PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kyle Arnoldy   

A crowd of about a dozen people gathered around Ballyneal Golf Club’s 10th tee box at 8 a.m. Sunday, June 22, as Ben Cox returned to the course he used to caddie at. For most golfers playing Sunday, it was just another sunny day on the links, but for Cox, it was an opportunity to complete a goal he tasked himself with in 2012.

Cox, who was left paralyzed from the chest down after a skiing accident in 2011, was the inspiration for the original event that spawned into the Hundred Hole Hike. HHH is now a national network of golf marathoners who raise money for various charitable causes by playing upward of 100 holes in one day.

With a goal of completing the back nine Sunday, Cox knew he had a tough challenge ahead of him.

Ben Cox watches as his putt finds the bottom of the cup for one of many highlights in the day.  

—Enterprise photo

For the past three years, Cox has been able to get a few holes played here and there. Heading into Sunday’s HHH event, he had roughly 18.5 holes under his belt since the accident. In 2012 Cox set out to complete the front nine holes at Ballyneal for the HHH. Due to exhaustion and becoming overheated, Cox cut the day short halfway through hole number eight.

Since then he successfully completed nine holes at the Holyoke Golf Course last year and has recently worked on some practice shots at F & H Golf Course west of Haxtun, giving him more confidence as he began his mission Sunday morning.

Not alone in the journey, Cox was accompanied by his wife Stephanie, parents Kenneth and Melinda and sister Kayleen. The mood was light for the event, with plenty of playful heckling peppered with sincere compliments throughout the day.

“We make lots of jokes,” Cox explained. “It’s just kind of how we deal with it.”

After his first tee shot found the center of the fairway he was greeted with comments from his family and another group of familiar golfers that he always does his best with multiple eyes on him. His sister joked with him after his second straight shot found the fairway that it must be a miracle.

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The Cox family is pictured from left, Kayleen, Stephanie, Ben, Kenneth and Melinda. As a family, the team accompanied Ben through the back nine, offering assistance, encouragement and plenty of humor.  

—Enterprise photo

Holyoke Enterprise June 26, 2014