The Georgia Southern golf team hosted their annual Thomas Sharkey Individual collegiate Sunday and Monday at the Georgia Southern golf course. For the fourth time since the tournament began in 2017 an eagle has walked away with top honors. Last year it went to senior Mason Williams, this year it was a freshman taking top honors.
Former Pinewood Patriot Parker Claxton earned his first victory in only his second collegiate tournament. Claxton was red hot Sunday firing rounds of 69 and 66 before closing with an even par 72 Monday as he’d win by four strokes over Pedro Cruz Silva of Mississippi State.
“I gained a lot of experience this week and it was awesome to finish with my first win,” said Claxton. “Sunday was fun as my putter got hot and I felt I was calm and patient. Today I struggled a little but this is a tough course and again, I stayed patient and was able to close it out.”
Eagle head coach Carter Collins was impressed with Claxton’s ability to win this early in his career but he wasn’t necessarily surprised.
“Parker played some great golf all three rounds,” Collins said. “For a freshman to battle through some of the nerves I’m sure he had today and yesterday is impressive. This is definitely the deepest and toughest field we have had for the Sharkey so for him to beat the teams and players he did is going to give him a lot of confidence.”
Claxton was able to pull through with plenty of family and friends from nearby Claxton turning out for the tournament. Among those watching was Parker’s dad Paul Claxton who has played on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour and played in two Majors including placing 23 at the 2005 U.S. Open.
“It is always nerve wracking whether you or playing or watching your son play,” Claxton said. “I was very proud of what he did today. All the credit goes to him as he puts in a lot of work and I appreciate all the work coach Carter Collins puts in with him as well as the other guys.”
While having your family, including a former professional golfer watching could have a negative effect, Parker said it actually helped calm him down.
“I am used to having my family watch me so it really didn’t have an effect on me,” Parker said. “I think it actually helps me to have my family and friends out here. It was great to be able to this in front of all of them.’
Colin Bowles (+2) fired a 2-under 70 today and tied for 11th, and Luke Koenig (+4) tied for 17th. Hayden Carner (+6) and Hogan Ingram (+6) tied for 25th.
Next up for the Eagles they will play their first team competition of the spring at the Gator Invitational at Mark Bostick Golf Course Feb. 11-12. It will be Georgia Southern's 22nd consecutive appearance in the event.