After consecutive trips to the state tournament, success for the Mansfield Legacy golf program has become par for the course. That success is bleeding over into the summer.
Already this month, Jackson Powers, a top returning player for the Broncos, has won a tournament, capturing the Metro Medalist NTPGA Junior event at Mansfield National on June 5. Teammate Cole Ditore finished second in the same event, while Clayton Waddell finished tied for fourth.
Legacy coach Christopher Word isn’t at all surprised by Powers’ success.
“Playing well in big-time tournaments is pretty typical for this guy,” he said, noting Powers finished 8th at the 5A state tournament and was a second-team all-state player.
But for Powers and his teammates, the summer does present a bit of a different challenge. School golf is a team sport. Summer golf is not. So it’s not just who they play, but also how they play.
“I take two completely different approaches to the game,” Powers said. “If I’m playing by myself and it’s just me out there, I can go and be as aggressive as I want. If there’s a pin tucked way back, I can go at that pin. If I miss it, I’m only hurting myself instead of hurting the team. If I’m playing team golf, I’m going to the middle of the green and two-putt.”
“It allows him to take a little more advantage when he’s playing well because he can be a little more aggressive,” Word added. “When he’s playing well, he kind of gets to see what he can do on his own.”
On his own, Powers shot a 3-under 69 to win the NTJGA event, six shots ahead of Ditore.
“It gives him more experience at tournament play, and really that’s the key to most kids’ success, is going out there and proving to themselves they can play well in a tournament,” Word said.
Powers, though, confesses to liking team golf a little better.
“Honestly, I prefer team golf,” he said. “I love being there with all my friends playing. I know if I mess up a round my team has my back.
“Summer is working on my swing and getting my game to the level I want it to be at,” he added. “It’s taking lessons, practicing a lot more. It’s my time to grind. I don’t have to worry about having a school tournament coming up so I don’t want to change my swing right before that.”
But summer golf isn’t solely about the individuals. Results in the summer can help Legacy qualify for its first event of the year, the Antigua National High School Golf Invitational, held the first week of September in Scottsdale, Arizona.
It’s an event featuring some of the best high school golf teams around the nation, and Legacy wants to be one of those.
“I feel like we are setting a pretty high bar for Legacy golf,” Powers said. “But I know that standard is going to be met almost every single year, because Coach always gives us enough hope, and all the guys there work so hard and work their butts off to meet the standard every time.”