BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
Confidence, when paired with talent, can go a long way toward improving your chances for success. Griffin Pickett, a freshman on the Seabreeze golf team, is a prime example of this.
“He has no weakness in his physical game,” Seabreeze head coach Matt Bailey said. “He hits the ball long and straight and has an incredible short game. The one thing he knows he needs to improve on is his mental game. He sometimes lets bad holes stay with him a little too long.”
Pickett’s short and mental game came together recently, though, to help him secure a spot in the regional tournament.
“It’s a pretty impressive task to qualify for the regional tournament as an individual,” Bailey said. “Even more so for a 14-year-old kid to do it. The last time I had a freshman make it to regionals was (Zach Horne) four years ago.”
Although Picket ended up shooting what he calls a "disappointing" 82 in the tournament, the real story is the way he earned entry into that next round.
After forcing a playoff -- he birdied on 17 and parred on 18 -- Pickett was one putt away from advancing. It just so happened to be a 25-foot putt.
“I was a little nervous,” he said. “But I felt really confident that I was going to make it, because it was lined up perfectly for me."
He was working on a fast green, he remembered, but he felt sure of himself. Then he gave the ball a tap.
“I thought it looked pretty good about 10 feet from the hole," Picket added, "and it just went in perfectly."
His coach never questioned he could make the shot, though.
“I just didn’t want him to three-putt to lose it,” Bailey said. “But that’s the difference between good players and average players in golf. ... The good ones think, ‘Make;’ the average ones think, ‘Don’t mess up.’ I knew we had a player at Seabreeze when that putt, under those circumstances, fell in the hole.”