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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 6, 2018 1 year ago

Freshman boys golfer leading the way at SMA

He started golf four years ago, but blossomed this summer
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

Timothy Williamson carries confidence everywhere he goes.

It manifests in his golf game, which he’s perfecting at the Sarasota Military Academy, but also in day-to-day activities, even at a young age. Such as,  his father Tom Williamson remembers, when Timothy was learning to ride a bike. The family had taken a camper to Walt Disney World on vacation. Timothy was practicing his bike-riding skills and shooting his dad a “look what I can do” face, Tom said.

Timothy Williamson, a freshman at SMA, is leading the Eagles to an undefeated start.

Timothy then ran into the back of a parked car. He was fine, Tom said, but his face changed from "look what I can do" to "I meant to do that." The pair laugh about it now. The incident failed to knock Timothy’s confidence out of him, which is perhaps a good thing. Now a freshman at SMA, Timothy has led the Eagles in all three matches they have played as of Sept. 4, shooting 39 on Aug. 21 against Booker High,  36 on Aug. 23 against Southeast High and a 23 (over a rain-shortened five hole outing) against Lemon Bay High on Aug. 30. All three were played at Palm Aire Country Club, and all three were wins for the Eagles.

Timothy started golfing four years ago after he tired of baseball. The Williamson’s back yard was about 100 yards long, he said, and after he found an old set of clubs one day, he created a game for himself. He tried to hit balls from the front edge of the backyard past the tree line at the back edge. Once he conquered this game enough times, he went to summer camp at Bobby Jones Golf Course and started taking it seriously. Tom knew back then that Timothy would find success in the sport.

“His swing just looked good,” Tom said. 

It was this summer when things get serious, Timothy said, and he went from a good player for his age to one who can lead a team. Working with swing coach Nathan Bertsch, Timothy focused on the fundamentals, simplifying his swing and narrowing his thoughts on the course.

“I was starting to see the irons come in,” Timothy said. “I had to minimize mistakes. We talked about what to do with different shots, how to correct mistakes and not make things worse.”

Timothy said Bertch wants his swing to resemble that of Tommy Fleetwood, the 12th-ranked PGA Tour golfer known for his consistency hitting fairways. Timothy’s good at that, too, Tom said, a rare skill for a golfer so young. Timothy called putting his best skill, saying it “saves me a lot of strokes on the greens, giving me a chance for at least a tap-in.” The other important golf skill — driving — is still a work-in-progress. He now averages between 220-240 yards, Timothy said, and that number will improve with age and strength. 

His other focal point is his attitude, the thing that caused his bike-on-car collision as a child. Timothy, by his own admission, is excitable. He sees golfers like Rickie Fowler, known for his big reactions and bigger style, as having “a great attitude and demeanor.” Timothy is that way, too, but knows he has to keep himself in check and let his play do (most of) the talking.

“I’m less fiery than I used to be,” Timothy said, “but your attitude determines how you play a hole.”

Lately, he’s been playing like that fire has a right to return.


I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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