Marshall Talkington watched his putt roll in on the 10th green.
Golf runs in Marshall Talkington's blood.
His father, Tom Talkington, played in four PGA Tour events from 1984 to 1986 and another in 1992.
His grandfather played in four majors.
Marshall Talkington remembers having a golf club in his hand when he was 3, "whenever I could swing a club," he said.
But now, with his life goals coming more into focus, he's getting serious about the game.
"I always played, but it was maybe like once or twice a week," Talkington said. "When I was 13, that's when I started playing everyday, and I've been playing everyday for the last couple of years, just really working on my game, and it's starting to pay off."
Talkington, of Jackson, Tenn., showed the latest dividends Tuesday when he fired a 5-under-par 67 in the first round of the AJGA's Dalhousie Junior Championship.
The score, when it was posted, tied the best competitive round at Dalhousie Golf Club. At the end of the day, it left him in second place and three strokes off the lead.
Talkington's golf resume is nice, but he has a chance to upgrade it this weekend.
"If I were to win this, there would be no comparison," Talkington said. "It would be so much better to win an AJGA."
The best trophy Talkington has in his collection now is undoubtedly special. Earlier this summer, he won the Tommy Talkington Cup, named in memory of his brother.
Tommy Talkington died in an auto accident Feb. 1, 2007, during his senior year of high school. He also played in AJGA events and was planning to go to college at Florida Gulf Coast.
Golf was something the brothers obviously shared.
"It was hard after the wreck, but I made up my mind that I'm going to really work at something," Talkington said. "My goals started standing out more. And after that, I decided to really start working on my golf game to see how good I can get and how far I can go."
After placing 10th in the Tennessee Class A-AA state tournament last October, Talkington finished his sophomore year of high school at IMG Academy golf school in Florida. He may home school for the coming year to play in more tournaments.
His summer has included top-five finishes at the Future Tour Championships in Mississippi and the Pepsi Little People's Championships, winning the Jackson, Tenn., junior championship (the Tommy Talkington Cup) and finishing second in the county championship match-play tournament. He shot a 68 in the county junior event, which was his best competitive round before Tuesday. And he fell in the finals of the county tourney to a 46-year-old amateur, David Salyers, 4-and-3.
"It was fun," he said. "The newspaper said, 'Old vs. young.' I shot 69 the first 18 holes of the match and was 2-down, so we knew who was going to win. It was a lot of fun playing against a top amateur."
Talkington's most recent AJGA competition — last week — was his best tour showing, a tie for second at the Knoxville Junior Open. He finished at 5-under-par 211, two strokes out of first, and picked up enough points to see his status in the Polo Golf Rankings improve from 736th to 142nd.
"I'm trying to get to an invitational," Talkington said, "so hopefully I can finish out this week and get invited to one."
He started the week on the right note with birdies on Nos. 1, 2 and 5 to get to 3-under par. He finished his front nine there and added birdies on Nos. 10 and 15.
"The course sets up pretty good for me because it's a narrow course and you have to hit a lot of fairways," Talkington said. "I'm normally a good ball-striker off the tee.
"My weakness has been my irons, and recently I've been hitting my irons really well. That's the key for me."
Talkington's focus on golf includes mixing in business and golf management education.
"I just really enjoy it," Talkington said. "I'd rather go out on the course than do anything."
He has his eyes on the University of Tennessee and was able to play well with the coach in attendance during the Knoxville AJGA event.
"I've got to get a lot better to go there," he said.
Another top finish this week would be helpful.
"I just want to have fun, see what happens and play as good as I can," he said.