Parker Gordon knows better than anyone else that earning a spot on a high school baseball team in Columbia County is no easy task.
After playing the sport he loved for years in recreation leagues and middle school, the Greenbrier High School senior wasn't quite up to par with the rest of the Wolfpack baseball talent and didn't make the team during tryouts in the spring.
It may have been the best thing that's ever happened to him.
"I wanted to be on a school team," Gordon said. "So I tried out for the golf team."
Forget the fact that the utility infielder's golf experience didn't reach beyond one or two 18-hole outings per year. His father, Rick Gordon, took up the game as a casual hobby, and Parker first picked up a club in seventh grade. Despite his limited experience, Parker managed a strong enough showing in golf tryouts to make the team.
"Last spring was the first time he's played organized golf, but he was in the top four golfers during tryouts," Greenbrier golf coach Stephen Inman said.
Fast-foward about half a year, and Parker, still a rookie to the sport, has a brand new trophy to go with all the past baseball awards. This one, however, is from the Augusta Area Junior Golfer Association, which named Gordon the Golfer of the Year for 2006.
The award came after Gordon took first place at an association's tournament at the Midland Valley Country Club in June and later placed second in an Optimist qualifier tournament in Dahlonega, Ga.
Rick Gordon said the early success has brought a renewed sense of passion to his son. Parker couldn't get enough of the game, and soon found a way to hang around the golf course for even longer periods of time.
He got a part-time job performing various maintenance and grounds-work tasks at Bartram Trail.
"He's out here all the time anyway," Rick Gordon said. "Even at 7:30 in the morning. He'll hit 1,000 balls on the driving range a day."
Parker said the extra work comes from a desire to play golf in college. Because of his late start, the senior is well behind other high school golfers in the recruitment process. However, Inman said there's still hope.
"He is behind, but there's still going to be opportunities out there for him. If nothing were to pan out it might be a situation where he's going to have to go somewhere and walk on," Inman said. "Being named area junior golfer of the year is a great headline to get some attention.
"He should have some opportunities, especially at a smaller school. After all, I have kids with just as much ability, but they don't work like he does."
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