Blaine, Minn. - Lee Hodges' triumphant victory at the 3M Open has thrust him into the spotlight, making him a local hero in his small hometown of Ardmore, Alabama. While Hodges might be just "Lee" to his high school sweetheart, Savannah, the rest of the town sees him as their very own hometown hero. The Ardmore community, with its population of only 1,500, is proud of having one of their own make it to the big leagues of professional golf.
The love and admiration from the town's residents are evident in the numerous young kids who frequently knock on Savannah's door, asking for "Mr. Lee." They are drawn to Hodges, who returned to Ardmore to be closer to his family despite achieving a successful PGA TOUR career.
Until now, Hodges' local celebrity had not extended far beyond Northern Alabama. He and Savannah typically travel anonymously from one event to another. However, his spectacular performance at the 3M Open, which concluded with a final-round 67, has undoubtedly put him on the map.
With a resounding seven-shot wire-to-wire victory, Hodges claimed his first PGA TOUR title at TPC Twin Cities, moving from 74th to 33rd in the FedExCup standings. This triumph grants him exemption into designated events and major championships for the next year, securing his status as a prominent player on the TOUR.
His popularity in Ardmore is no surprise, as the town played a significant role in shaping Hodges' journey to professional golf. Growing up, he dreamt of attending the University of Alabama and playing college golf there, which ultimately became a reality when he transferred from the University of Alabama-Birmingham after two years.
Hodges' love for golf set him apart in a town where football and basketball were more commonly pursued. Nevertheless, he remained dedicated to his passion and established strong relationships with friends and mentors who supported him throughout his journey.
Sunday's victory further solidified Hodges' connection to his hometown. A sizable contingent of Ardmore natives traveled to the 3M Open to cheer him on, and many others watched from home at the Canebrake Club, where Hodges honed his skills as a young golfer.
The support from his hometown seemed to propel Hodges throughout the final round. Despite a momentary bogey on the ninth hole, he remained composed, and his body language conveyed confidence. Two eagles on the sixth and 12th holes were among the highlights of his day, and an aggressive approach on the 18th led to a birdie, sealing his seven-shot victory—the largest margin of victory on the PGA TOUR since Rory McIlroy's triumph in the 2019 RBC Canadian Open.
As he tapped in for the final putt, Hodges embraced his caddie, Andrew Medeley, before receiving congratulations from his wife, friends, agent, and childhood best friend. The joyous atmosphere at that moment made it feel like Hodges was back in Ardmore, celebrating with the same people who had supported him long before his days as a TOUR winner.
Hodges' victory has ignited excitement and pride in Ardmore, and the town's residents are undoubtedly celebrating this significant achievement. His triumph represents a source of inspiration for the community, knowing that one of their own has reached the pinnacle of success in professional golf.
Lee Hodges is now not only a household name in Ardmore but also a rising star in the world of professional golf, and the golfing world eagerly awaits to see what else this hometown hero has in store for the future.