BILLINGS – It was an early morning, and a late night, for one Hilands Golf Club foursome Friday.

“First tee shot was at 6 a.m., and it usually takes about 14 hours,” assistant professional Jeff Allen told us.

And still, it’s one of the Hilands’ pros favorite days of the year, as they play 100 holes to help families of children battling cancer.

“We’re doing this for Kelker’s Kids, which is really local,” said Doug Hagen, the club’s general manager.  “It’s the foundation that the Billings Clinic has here. It pays things like groceries, mortgages, things like that just while they’re here.”

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“It’s great to know that 100% of our proceeds are going right to families right here in Billings and Yellowstone County,” Allen added.

Allen, Hagen, head pro Eddie Kavran, and assistant pro Ken Sipes are used to the grind by now in their 4th year of the marathon golf event. They know the key to not wearing down.

“Just try to keep it smooth all day,” said Hagen.  “Not over-swing, not tweak backs – anything like that.”

It was no problem for the elder-statesman Sipes, who tapped in for the group’s 28th birdie of the day on their 42nd hole, which was right on pace with their goal.

“(Members) donate $100, but then they’ll donate $1 for every birdie that we get,” Hagen explained of the fundraising efforts.  “But then we’ve got a guy who said he’d give us $500 if we can make 60 birdies. So, it gives us something to shoot at.”

“At this golf course, it’s kinda tough to cut a lot corners,” the long-hitting Allen said.  “So I think if we just try to hit good shots and good wedges, and then start getting the putter hot, that’s how we’re gonna make em.”