A breakthrough occurred for States Fort at a South Carolina golf tournament last month.
The 14-year-old Evans resident won first place in his age group at the Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy Junior Shootout on June 24 in Myrtle Beach. Fort fired a two-day, 1-under 143 and shot the lowest tournament score across the board.
In six Hurricane Junior Golf Tour events leading up to the Junior Shootout, he also recorded three second-place finishes and a tie for third.
“It feels pretty good now that I went and got it after being so close so many times,” said States, who gave credit to his coach, Drew Belt. “He just helped me through it.
“I let it happen and didn’t try to force anything.”
States’ consistency is one of the things Belt said he admires about his game.
“It almost drives me crazy because when you play with him, he never misses a fairway,” said Belt, who called States one of the hardest-working golfers he’s seen. “He hits it 245-250, right down the middle, every single time.
“He’s just a machine.”
With the win, States automatically qualified for the HJGT Tour Championship at the Champions Gate Golf Club in December. The teen finished third last year in the Orlando, Fla., event.
“I played in it last year so it’s not anything super new,” States said. “Hopefully, I can have my game at a point, by the time December comes around, that I’ll contend in it a little more than I did last year.”
States said he plans to play in more Hurricane events in Georgia and the Southeast.
“I want to win as many as I can ... and just play as good as I can in every one,” he said.
Up next, however, is the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour’s West Lake Junior Classic July 16. The event will feature some of the area’s best young talent.
When the summer winds down, States will turn his attention to high school. The teen starts his freshman year at Greenbrier High and already has goals.
“My goal next year in high school is to keep somewhere close to a 4.0 GPA, get in the top six, play in matches (and) get into state (competition),” he said.