Beating one’s father in a round of golf for the first time is a memorable moment for any golfer, but for Dalton Melnyk, it was twice as memorable.
First because his father is Steve Melnyk, an 11-year PGA Tour member and longtime television announcer, and second, because following the final putt Steve had to jump in a river.
“My brother (Butler) and I had a standing bet with my dad, whenever we beat him for the first time, he had to jump in the nearest body of water,” said Dalton. “It finally happened when I was 16, I made about a 12-footer for par and he went ahead and jumped in the river behind the (Timuquana) clubhouse.”
That may have been one of the first unforgettable moments in Melnyk’s golf career, but it sure wasn’t the last for the 27-year-old Gainesville native, who followed a family tradition by attending the University of Georgia, where he played on the golf team. In his first collegiate competition he shot 2-over 218 at the Gary Koch/Cleveland Golf Invitational, good for a tie for 13th.
Although he says he’s been playing golf as long as he can remember, Melnyk didn’t start playing seriously until he was around 16. Since then he has qualified for the 2005 USGA Mid-Amateur, the ’07 Public Links and was an alternate on for the ’05 U.S. Open.
Various injuries have kept him from playing at full strength for much of the last season, although he did make the cut at the Stocker Cup Invitational, eventually finishing tied for 12th. He will have wrist surgery which well put him on the shelf for the coming months.
While no one likes being away from the game, Melnyk reasoned that the off season was the best choice to have the surgery done, both for the weather, and to give the die-hard University of Florida fan a chance to watch the Gators defend their pair of national championships in football and basketball.