Happy Gilmore is looking to win a high school state title

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Yes, he understands the reaction. Happy Gilmore? It must be a printing error. Maybe a joke.

Happy Gilmore? Certainly not.

“Sometimes when I first show up they look at me weird,” said Gilmore, a star high school golfer from Bloomington South, Indiana. “But if my golf bag is there and it has my name on it, that will help a bit. But it never fails. At some point, they’ll ask me, ‘Is that your real name? or ‘How did you you got that name?’ Something along those lines.

His first name is Landon. But Happy, a 16-year-old sophomore, started being nicknamed “Happy” when he was around 6 and started playing golf tournaments – a golfer with the surname Gilmore is too easy, no ?

“My mum said it was before that, but I really remember it when I was 9,” he said. “Then when I was about 13 I started using ‘Happy’ all the time.”

Gilmore, unlike Adam Sandler’s character in the 1996 movie “Happy Gilmore,” is not a hockey player/turned-golfer. “I can’t skate,” he said. But he knows how to play golf. In fact, Gilmore tied for eighth in the state last year as a rookie. His Bloomington South team, which finished fourth in the Indiana State Championship last year, will be one of the teams to watch when the two-day IHSAA state meet begins Tuesday at the Prairie. View Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana.

“The last third of our season I played really well,” said Gilmore, who finished tied for second in the region with an even par of 72. “That’s definitely the best I’ve felt on a golf course, probably in my life.”

Gilmore gained some national publicity after shooting an 80 in a US Open qualifier at Old Oakland Golf Club. The “Shooter McGavin” Twitter account (named after Christopher McDonald’s villainous character in the film), also took notice. “If anyone sees this kid tell him I’d like to meet him tonight on the 9th green at 9am,” he tweeted to his more than 437,000 followers last month.

Gilmore can mimic Sandler’s tee shots in the movie, though he admits he hasn’t practiced the ball run routine recently.

“I haven’t done it in a while, so I’m probably a little rusty,” he said. “But just give me a few balls, and I can usually make pretty good contact.”

Like Sandler’s character, one of Gilmore’s strengths is his driver.

“I’m pretty long (off the tee),” he said. “Here lately I’ve struggled with my driver, but in general I’m very good off the start and my putt is usually quite good. I worked hard to get my wedges up because my irons are okay, but my strengths are definitely off the tee and off the green.

“I don’t think it adds pressure on me,” Gilmore said of his name. “But I know everything I do will be seen. Especially when it comes to ratings when people scroll down and see “Happy Gilmore,” they’re going to watch it, obviously. So I know it, but I don’t let it get into my head or that I have to play well because of it. I just go out and do my thing.

Hopefully for Gilmore that means bringing the ball home for the next two days.

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