From the first day he teed up his first ball as a freshman at Gordon Lee, Tucker Windham has filled a big spot in the Trojans’ lineup.
Four years later, he leaves incredibly big shoes to fill.
Windham, a recent graduate, is the 2019 Walker County Boys’ Golfer of the Year just 12 months after sharing the 2018 award with former LaFayette High standout and current Valdosta State standout Gage Smith.
“It’s always nice to be considered the best,” Windham said. “Walker County has had a good history of having some really good golfers, so to be a part of that group is pretty cool.”
Although the Trojans didn’t have the regular season successes that they have enjoyed in years’ past, Windham’s experience helped elevate the play of his teammates in the postseason when it counted the most.
“Team-wise, we knew it was going to be a little tougher year after having several graduate (from the year before),” he explained. “I tried to take more of a leadership role with some of the younger guys. I really wanted to make sure my game developed to help everybody else’s game develop.
“I really thought I could have played better in some of the events that we played in, but I was able to play better and more consistently down the stretch and shoot more of the numbers I was looking for.”
Windham opened the season with a 76 at a tournament at the Achasta Golf Club in Dahlonega and later shot a 75 on the familiar grounds of the Windstone Golf Club at the Heritage Five-Star Invitational. His 73 at the LaFayette Golf Club tied him for first place at the Area 3-A tournament in LaFayette where he ultimately had to settle for the individual runner-up trophy after the first playoff hole.
But Gordon Lee, who finished second at the area tournament, would keep it going at the 36-hole Class 1A Public School state tournament in Warner Robins and Windham would lead the charge.
He shot a 74 on Day 1 and followed up with a 72 to take home individual runner-up honors and help lift the Trojans to the team runner-up trophy.
Windham said his biggest improvement in the offseason came upstairs.
“It’s been the mental game, for sure,” he added. “I’m able to forget bad shots and overcome bad holes quicker than a lot of guys. I’m more confident and when I’m playing bad, I’m able to use my mind as an asset to think my way around the course. My swing and my short game have also gotten better, but really the mental approach is what has really helped my game.”
Windham, who tied for the individual state title as a junior, also leaves Gordon Lee with a pair of team state championships. He will tee it up next season for local small college powerhouse Dalton State.
“I’m going to miss playing for my dad,” he said. “That’s been a lot of fun and pretty special with us winning tournaments and state titles together and it’s also been fun playing high school golf with my teammates, both with guys in the past and with the guys on the team this year. I really enjoyed it.
“Dalton State is going to be a lot of fun. No one is really graduating over there next year, so we’re going to get even better. I have a couple of good friends on the team already and they should be fun to play with.”