Eastern Florida Golfer Kerry Sweeney Wins Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year
By Michael Parson, EFSC // June 22, 2016
NJCAA Division I Men's Golf National Champ
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The group of young golfers stood in silence as Kerry Sweeney drove shot after shot down the driving range at Eastern Florida State College’s Fred Gay Academy in Cocoa.
The Eastern Florida State College golfer spent Monday morning hanging out with the young golfers at the Eastern Florida State College P.J. Wilson and Henry Scott Youth Golf Camp.
None of them could imagine the whirlwind tour the Holy Trinity graduate has been on the past month.
“I am exhausted,” Sweeney admitted.
He has reason to be. In the span of about a month, Sweeney has won an NJCAA Division I Men’s Golf National Championship, accepted the 2016 NJCAA Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year award, played a round of golf at this year’s site of the U.S. Senior Open with some of the best players in college golf including the low amateur at the U.S. Open last weekend and competed in the Southeast Pro-Am.
But you would not have known any of that Monday morning as he spent over an hour with the campers, talking about life, golf and why he has shoes that don’t have laces.
The national champion was happy to be back at the driving range, sharing his knowledge with the next generation of golfers.
“It’s really good to see golf go in the direction of having a lot of younger kids come out and try to learn the game, the profession of golf. It is such a professional sport, you have to have the correct mannerisms in order to become a good golfer but just learning the game of golf teaches you so much,” Sweeney said.
“I didn’t really have this growing up and I wish I did. For them to come out here and have this is really something special.”
When he sits back and thinks about it, the past month has been pretty special for him as well.
“Winning that national championship was more valuable to me than anything. It was as special a moment for me as anything,” Sweeney said.
“Then to be at the Jack Nicklaus event, during the Memorial Tournament, talking to Jack and he was talking about me trying to win it three times in a row. It was memorable.”
And it doesn’t stop here. Sweeney is heading to Fort Myers to compete in the Florida Amateur beginning Thursday at Fiddlesticks and then heads to Atlanta for an event the following week.
“After that I will probably take a little breather,” Sweeney said with a smile. “That is going to really be needed.”
The sophomore is also finishing up three online classes as he gets ready to transfer to the University of Mississippi in the fall.
“I could have had chances to go to other places if everything came through but to be honest, Ole Miss just felt like home,” Sweeney said.
“It is a growing program and the coaches will do whatever they can to help me reach the top of my game, which is nice to know. Down to earth about what they can offer and what they have done for me was nice. I am blessed.”
Sweeney was a bit surprised when Eastern Florida State College men’s golf coach Jamie Howell told him Ole Miss was interested, until he hit the Internet.
“I looked it up and saw it was coach Malloy and said, I know him,” Sweeney said.
Ole Miss men’s golf coach Chris Malloy began scouting Sweeney when he was at South Florida and Sweeney was a junior at Holy Trinity and once Sweeney was on campus, everything just fell into place.
“It was really different from any other campus, really clean and pretty,” Sweeney said. “Oxford is a neat little town, I just thought it is a really cool place to be.”
With his future set, Sweeney is focused on making his next shot as good as it can be.
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