KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Keystone Heights High School’s girls golf team, led by sophomore Camille Jackson, got close, but close is only good in horseshoes as Jackson became the lone area golfer to …
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Keystone Heights High School’s girls golf team, led by sophomore Camille Jackson, got close, but close is only good in horseshoes as Jackson became the lone area golfer to advance to the state championship tournament.
“I’m glad to go to state again and hope to do better, but I’m a little sad that we are not going as a team,” said Jackson, who will join her dad, Billy Jackson, also the Lady Indians coach, on another trip to the Class 1A championship tournament at the Mission Inn Resort in Howie in the Hills on Tues.-Wed. Oct. 30-31. “We bettered our region score by 34 strokes, but Bolles and Providence both bettered their scores. They beat us by 22 strokes this year; 39 last year.”
Note: Jackson, with a 79 at the district 4-1A tournament won by Keystone Heights followed by a 76 at the region 2-1A tournament, is scheduled to tee off at 9:14 a.m. on Tues., Oct. 30. with Lake Mary Prep’s Sritha Verumi, a freshman who shot 86s at the district 9-1A and region 3-1A tournaments, and St. John Neumann’s Sophie Shrader, a junior who finished 48th last year (84-82). Jackson’s 76 at regions was seventh best on the scoreboard with a winning score of 68, two golfers at 69, a 70, a 71 and a 73 above her. A live scoreboard with team and individual scores will be available on the FHSAA Golf webpage and on https://fhsaa.shotstat.com .
At Monday’s practice round, coach Billy Jackson reported Camille had finished with an even par (72) round.
“She had four bogies, four birdies and 10 pars,” said Jackson. “I think she is a little looser and let her game flow.”
Jackson, a diminutive 107 pounds of golf power, credits a weightlifting and cardiovascular regimen with improving her game in 2018.
“I did some lifting and some cardio with some yoga and added maybe 20-30 yards on my drives,” said Jackson, who scorched most area courses with event leading 33-36 scores with a 33 at Keystone Heights Country Club her best day thus far. “I also got some stiffer clubs which don’t flex as much and give me more power off the tees.”
Jackson’s highest score of the year was a rugged 43 at Magnolia Point, but she had good reason.
“I forgot my putter and hit my putts with a sand wedge,” said Jackson. “My putting game is one of my strongest parts of the game to the point that a University of Florida coach once dubbed me ‘one-putt Jackson. Now, I have to get my drives further down the fairway.”
On the Lady Indians team, Jackson has younger sister Candace, a sophomore, by her side with sophomore Sloan Siebert and incoming eighth grader M.J Rivera lining up with juniors Ashton Ludwig and Savannah Heintz.
“We want to go to state as a team,” said Jackson. “That was this year’s goal and we just missed. Sloane missed by one stroke as an individual and that was tough. I hit 76 and she hit 77 at regions.”
Jackson hopes to improve on her past finishes at Mission Inn; 45th last year with rounds of 82 and 81 with the top 14 teams all private schools with Branford at 15th and tied for 41st in 2016 with rounds of 83 and 82 again with the top 14 schools all private with Franklin County High School at 15th.
“That’s part of the challenge of getting there as a team because we are going up against all those private schools in 1A,” said Jackson. “We are just little, old Keystone Heights High in rural America. I’d love to get our team up there among those teams.”
Jackson was already up at Mission Inn on Sunday with a two-day invite on the state course with a Monday practice round planned before the Tuesday start of the championship event.
“The event here was an academy players only event, but I got invited so I got to see the course early,” said Jackson. “Monday, we get the practice round and then we get going. I think the team being as good as we were helped me because I always had Sloan right behind me; she tied me twice in regular season rounds, and the others keep us sharp even at practice where we split up teams and play for snacks at the Keystone Heights clubhouse. Those can get pretty competitive because we yell to distract each other and try to get in each other’s heads. All fun, but prepares us by keeping the game loose.”