HOWIE IN THE HILLS – Keystone Heights High sophomore golfer Camille Jackson got two of her three goals for the 2018 season; the first being advancing to the Class 1A championship tournament, and …
HOWIE IN THE HILLS – Keystone Heights High sophomore golfer Camille Jackson got two of her three goals for the 2018 season; the first being advancing to the Class 1A championship tournament, and came home with a 24th place finish at Class 1A championship tournament held Tues.-Wed., Oct. 30-31 at the Mission Inn Resort Las Colinas course in Howie in the Hills.
“I improved my scores from the last two times I came here, improved my place a lot from those past two years, but did not get my team here,” said Jackson. “I want to get the entire team here next year.”
At the two-day tournament, held in gorgeous cool, crisp weather in the Orlando area, Jackson had moments of brilliance coupled with moments of near disaster as she traversed the nearly 5,500 yards of fairways and greens at Mission Inn Resort.
“I worked on improving my drives to be straighter and longer this year, but have to work on my woods; second and third shots,” said Jackson. “I missed some putts today (day two) that I should have made.”
The top finisher for the Class 1A tournament was Meiyi Yan, a senior from First Academy of Orlando who was 19th last year, with a 136 (67, 69) with three players tied for runnerup at 140. Jackson, at 154, had the 15th best total of the day with numerous players tied at 143, 144, 146, 148 and 150. Two other area finishers, were Chloe Schiavone, of Bolles, who finished fifth at 141 (69, 72) and Celeste Valinho of Providence, ninth at 145 (74, 71). First Academy won the girls team title with Providence the runnerup.
“It’s tough coming into a tournament like this with all these private school kids that can play all year long,” said Jackson. “I come from little old Keystone Heights; one of just two public schools here. I use that as some of my motivation.”
In her first round, Jackson finished with a 76 to better her first round of last year, an 82, before finishing off her second round at 78 with last year’s second round at 81. Jackson finished 45th last year and 41st two years ago as an eighth grader.
“I really wanted a top 20 finish today,” said Jackson, who was accompanied on the course by dad and coach Billy Jackson. “I think I was a close as 22nd at the 17th hold in the second round before having my worst hole of the tournament; a triple bogie, that dropped me to 25th.”
In her first round, Jackson had six pars in the first nine holes with three bogies to open with a 38 score en route to her 76 (4-over par) with a second 38 on the back nine with two birdies.
“She got hot in the back nine,” said Billy Jackson. “She got two pars, then two birdies and I thought she was getting on a roll. Two bogies and then two pars and a final bogie finished her at 76 which left in her good standing for day two.”
On day two, Jackson again opened with a six pars, but stalled with three bogies to finish again at 38 for the front nine.
“She’s been staying under 40 for most of the season and she really wanted to go home with an under 80 for both rounds,” said Billy Jackson, who noted a best nine hole round of 33 at Magnolia Point Golf Course. “This is such a tough course and the fatigue and stress of the state championship will get to these kids.”
Jackson answered with six more pars on the final nine with one birdie and one bogie before the disastrous 18th. Along the way, pars on holes nine and 10 looked promising before Jackson twice hit trees on 12 that deflected back to the fairway. Jackson used the lucky bounces to birdie hole 12 with a superb chip shot that landed six feet from the cup and set up a run of five pars to 17.
“This (hole 12) is a long hole with a dip in the middle of the fairway,” said Billy Jackson, noting the 505 yards from tee to cup. “She’s hitting with the big girls here and making the dip to be as close as the girls higher up on the leaderboard.”
On 14, a long uphill tee shot with a left turn either around or over a huge oak tree, Billy Jackson advised Camille to play safe over the tree then use her chip where she hit, probably, her best shot of the tournament, a chip shot just six inches from the cup.
Pushing forward with her pars, Camille Jackson hit a two foot putt again on 15 that spun in the cup to position herself near the top 20 mark; 22nd, with three holes to go.
Hitting par on 16 and 17, Camille Jackson drove her tee shot right of the fairway on 18 into a marsh and had to take a drop for her second shot that led to triple bogie and final round of 78 with a 40 on the back nine holes.