Spring 2021 Magazine

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz qualifies for U.S. Senior Open

John Smoltz was one of the best pitchers of his generation.

He won 213 games and had 154 saves, becoming the only pitcher ever to have 200 wins and 150 saves in a career. He won a World Series with Atlanta in 1995, a Cy Young award in 1996, and had a career ERA of 2.57 in the postseason.  He was a nightmare on the mound for opposing hitters.

Now, at age 51, Smoltz is excelling in a different sport.

Golf.

The baseball Hall of Famer participated in a 18-hole qualifier at Planterra Ridge Golf Club in Peachtree City, Ga., where three spots were up for grabs to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open. Jack Larkin and Sonny Skinner got through in regulation by shooting 4-under 68.

In a three-man playoff, Smoltz found himself battling with two others for one spot, and the longtime Braves pitcher prevailed, eliminating Brian Tennyson and Brian Ferris despite making double bogey.

Smoltz was featured in the October 1999 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine. An outspoken follower of Jesus Christ, Smoltz shared why his Christian walk has helped him to worry less about what others say and why his security is sealed through the Savior.

“My relationship with the Lord has freed me from the bondage of what others think, since I know I have the promise of eternity with Him in Heaven,” he said.

RELATED: Fox Broadcaster, former MLB pitcher John Smoltz says he accepted Jesus in 1995

Smoltz says he made the decision to follow Christ in 1995 and hasn’t looked back.

“In 1995, I sat down at a restaurant with Walt Wiley, our team chaplain at the time,” Smoltz told Tim Luke in 2005.  “I asked him, ‘Why can’t I just live the way I want to live until I’m 42 or 43 and then get serious about God?’ He said, ‘Nothing prevents you from doing that – with the exception of one thing: You might not get to your target date.’ At that point I no longer wanted to take chances, so I accepted Jesus and began to live for Him. Someone might think that’s why I had my Cy Young season in 1996, but it’s not. However, it is why I was able to handle my Cy Young season.”

John Smoltz the golfer will compete at the 2018 U.S. Senior Open on June 28-July 1 at the Broadmoor-East Course in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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