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Berger to compete at Future Masters
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Golfer Ford Berger, 14, blasts out of a bunker on the eighth hole at the Georgia Southern University Golf Course Wednesday morning. Berger heads to Dothan, Ala. this weekend where he will compete in the Future Masters tournament.

    When the sun rises Saturday morning, dozens of professional golfers will still be in the hunt as they contend for the U.S. Open in Oakmont, Pa.
    Down in Dothan, Ala., the next generation of potential stars — including Statesboro’s own Ford Berger — will be chasing dreams of their own at the Future Masters.
    The tournament, which invites some of the best junior golfers from all over the country, has been running strong since 1950. The event breaks up participants into age groups, including 10U, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-18. Berger has been invited back once again and will compete in the 13-14 age group for the second straight year as he hopes to improve after missing last year’s cut.
    All competitors will play rounds on Saturday and Sunday, with cuts being made ahead of Monday’s final round.
    “I feel like I’ve grown a lot in the last year,” Berger said. “I went through a swing change and I’ve been playing really well lately. The biggest thing is just length. I’m hitting it 30 or 40 yards longer off the tee right now than I was last year.”
    That length will be vital as Dothan Country Club plays over 6,500 yards from the tips. If Berger can utilize his newfound power, he’ll rely on his pinpoint accuracy from the fairway to try and put up low numbers.
    Still not one to plan on simply overpowering any course, it is that accuracy — combined with consistency — that makes Berger a threat in any tournament. All of that has been put on the fast track as, unlike many golfers in the 120-player 13-14 age group, Berger didn’t pick up the game until three years ago.
    Berger showed enough natural talent to make any weekend hacker envious, but it’s all of the extra work that has him competing at such a high level so quickly.
    “I think Ford has the desire and the dedication that it takes to succeed in tournament golf,” Director of Golf at GSU Golf Course Marten Olsson said. “He has a lot of talent, but he also has a lot of drive. We’re in the summer where the weather can be bad. When it’s hot or raining, Ford is out here practicing when most people stay at home.”
    One of the biggest things going in Berger’s favor is the ease of finding quality competition.
    Berger wrapped up his freshman season at Statesboro High this past spring and hasn’t missed a beat as late spring and summer bring about the tournament season. Following the Future Masters, Berger has plans to compete in several events around Georgia, as well as an attempt to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur.
    But for now, the Future Masters is all that matters.
    “I definitely want to improve on last year,” Berger said. “I’ve already played the course, so I’m familiar with it. And now I’m really confident with my game. I think I can be near the top if I play well. If I’m near the top (going into the final round) who knows what could happen?”