It was a return to our home venue of Eagle Ridge this week and despite a couple of short rain delays during the day we were pleased to record another good 18 holes under our belt.
Today was a strong turnout and it signals the beginning of college golf for some and High school and Middle school golf for others. The majority of our players will be taking advantage of what is a relatively short school golf season to represent their school and these additional opportunities to get out on the golf course can only be beneficial in helping you develop your overall game.
Remember though, the difference between a participating school golfer and one who truly achieves at both school and at junior competition level is always the player who is most committed to continuous improvement. In simple terms that means at this time of year you learn to manage your golf practice and playing schedule and you compete on ALL fronts, that means both school AND , arguably even more important due to the level of competition you may face and ranking points etc, Junior Competitions like this one.
As I look at our list of entries for our next Highlander Tour event it is interesting to note that the majority of players already entered to play are either those we know already who are already among the very best in their school already and want to remain there OR those who are striving to be the best they can. The former only got to be the best in school by playing all year round competitions and the latter already understand that and are making efforts to improve at every opportunity!
Highlander Tour began in order to provide young players with regular opportunities to compete and develop through competition. WE bring YOU the opportunities to compete and the players to play against in order to improve but as a player who may have hopes and dreams of becoming a strong player in return YOU must bring the desire and commitment to get better by signing up to play. Golf is TOUGH and there are no shortcuts to real improvement!
Good luck to all of our “Highlanders” playing in school this year. Work hard at practice and play well. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our upcoming HJT tournament events.
There was lots going on at Eagle Ridge GC with no fewer than 4 player flights for our regular 18 hole tournament and we even managed to squeeze in a Wee Highlander 6 hole fun challenge for young golfers too. Check out the flight results and our happy medal and prize winners below.
The Highlander Alumni Flight:
Our High School graduates and College players compete in these Senior competitions and this group just made it to the finish on 18 before we announced another weather delay! We were delighted to present Michael Lis-Planells who represents Ave-Maria University of Florida with his first Highlander Tour Alumni medal of 2021.
Michael is a strong competitor who’s working hard to keep his game as consistent as possible and over the last few weeks we’ve seen his hard work paying off. Nice to see him rewarded for that! Great job Michael and congratulations from everyone at Highlander Tour.
The Claret Jug Flight:
Our Elite Flight reserved for all age players who have won their previous age based flight on 3 or more occasions during the season achieve promotion to The Claret Jug Flight.
We know it’s not easy to win a player flight however when you are elevated to The Claret Jug Flight it doesn’t get any easier. We believe in challenging our players as much as we can and being a part of this prestigious player flight means you will always need to perform to takie one of these exclusive Claret Jug medals home with you.
2021 is the season where this young talent from Ocala has really come to the fore. Xavier Sahajpal has shown us an outstanding attitude and a desire to win that we fully believe is going to bring him many more successes in the future. Incidentally he’s a great kid too and a fine young player!
Congratulations to Xavier from everyone at Highlander Tour! Despite tough conditions Xavier returned a +4(76) with highlights being 3 birdies and good consistency to keep errors down to nothing worse than bogey. Good job Xavier! 6 medal wins for the season with HJT…what’s your target going to be for the rest of the season ?
The Old Tom Morris Flight:
Our 16-17’s in this one and its ALWAYS competitive. One player however made this one his own and right now he’s proving to be one of the most consistent Highlander players in our ranks.
Nathan Williams (Clermont) took his second medal in as many appearances having only recently started playing HJT events. He has a really strong presence and very few weaknesses in a fine all round game. Under tough conditions at Eagle Ridge GC and in a very impressive show of consistent golf Nathan delivered par on 10 occasions, secured 3 birdies and limited any dropped shots to nothing worse than bogey all day long.
His +2 (74) saw him deservedly collect the Old Tom Morris Flight Winner medal. Nathan is now closing in on a 3rd medal which would see him achieve a speedy promotion to our Elite player Claret Jug Flight for future HJT competitions.
Great Job Nathan. Congratulations from everyone at Highlander Tour on win number 2!
The Young Tommy Morris Flight:
Our 15 year old’s and under in this one and it was time for one young player to finally get his hands on a Highlander Winners Medal.
Tyler Budill (The Villages Middle School) is a player we know very well indeed. He’s an exceptional young man, quiet and polite and a player who clearly loves to play his chosen sport!
Over the past few months we’ve watched Tyler struggle at times and we’ve watched him celebrate targets being achieved. He is maturing as a young player and while that might sound contradictory what we mean is he looks to be visibly learning that he will play his best, and most consistent, competitive golf when relaxed and not getting overly emotional or upset about the bad shots that we can’t do anything about!
Players like Tyler Budill are a HUGE part of why we do this job! Watching him, and others like him, achieve goals and grow in confidence as a player and a young person is both emotional and satisfying. It’s just the beginning for Tyler Budill, who now needs to work even harder, to keep experiencing more days like this in tournament golf BUT it’s a huge sign of intent and a big step in his building confidence and his development to finally see his hard work rewarded!
Congratulations Tyler from everyone at Highlander Tour. You are our VERY deserved Young Tommy Morris Flight Winner !
The Player Scores :
The Wee Highlanders (Wee Callum) Flight:
Our young players in this one are learning their way in the game. We are hopeful that when the time is right each of them will feel confident enough to take the step up to the next level and compete in our 18-hole competitions.
At all ages one thing IS the same. All players develop at a different pace as all players are not built the same way. Neither do they grow at the same rate. While these are all factors to be considered spare a thought for players whose development has to take in additional factors that most of us don’t even think about!
Cooper Longest (The Villages Golf Academy) shot 37 over 6 holes at Eagle Ridge GC to take the medal by 2 shots from Eden Wilkins, also representing The Villages.
It was a good opportunity for us to check in on Cooper’s progress and we have to say he’s doing an awesome job! He’s stronger and more balanced than ever and he has clearly been working hard to improve every single aspect of his game. Cooper has the additional factor of having only his right arm for grip and swing and that means his balance, his rotation and his swing plane has to be absolutely on point every single time!
We love watching Cooper play. We are lucky to have a great group of kids playing on our tour but he is VERY special indeed! He loves his golf, his attitude is exceptional and his smile lights up the golf course! Cooper is the finest example we know of perseverance and mental strength to be the very best he can be in a game that none of us will ever truly master even if we play it for a lifetime! Based on what we know of him already Cooper Longest is going to a talented future player!
Great job Cooper, congratulations from everyone at Highlander on your first medal win. It was thoroughly deserved and we expect not your last!
Our Nearest The Pin Shot of the Day Award:
This week it went to our popular, and always hard working, Montverde 17 year old Trenton Waters. Great shot Trenton. We will hand over your exclusive branded Tervis award next time we see you!