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North Hall's Lloyd to start on junior golf circuit today

POSTED: June 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Junior golfer and rising North Hall junior Jimmy Lloyd is spending his summer break from school working on the intricacies of his golf game and will play 12 tournaments through Georgia, Alabama and Florida on the Southeast Junior Tour and American Junior Golf Association circuit beginning today with the Medicus Preseason Junior at Chateau Elan's Chateau Course.

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Jimmy Lloyd is quite the analytical player when it comes to his golf game.

The rising North Hall High junior is meticulous when it comes to playing the sport that produced an individual title for him in Region 7-AAA this season, only one shot ahead of his friend and playing partner Grant Cagle of Johnson.

He approaches every shot with the mentality that it’s the most important shot of the round: Whether it’s a tee shot, fairway shot, tricky wedge shot or a tap-in putt.

There’s nothing about his game that shows even an inkling of a grip-it and rip-it attitude.

"Golf is what I do," Lloyd said. "I’m always out here practicing."

With the school year out of the way, it’s almost a sure bet that Lloyd can be found sweating away the hours at Gainesville’s Chattahoochee Golf Course, no matter how hot it is.

He’s not exactly like most high school kids, running straight to the driving range with a bucket of balls.

Instead, he’s found the secret to success lies in getting up-and-down around the green.

That’s why he devotes most of his practice time to working on his short game.

Lloyd isn’t as much concerned about making a certain number of chip shots or putts each afternoon, instead focusing on making as many as it takes to feel he’s reached a comfort zone with his game. He’ll do anything to avoid a similar three-putt like on No. 9 during the region championships this season, which could have hampered his championship round had it not been for his immediate laser-beam of a tee shot down the No. 10 fairway.

In a normal two-hour practice session, he’ll spend an equal amount of time putting as chipping and pitching around the green.

"I feel like as long as I’m able to get to the green, then I should be able to get up and down," Lloyd said.

He also wants to do his part to improve his golf game for a Trojans squad that could legitimately challenge for the Class AAA state title next season.

But first he’s focused on his summer schedule that includes 12 tournaments through Georgia, Alabama and Florida on the Southeast Junior Tour and American Junior Golf Association circuit. His summer tour kicks off today with the Medicus Preseason Junior at Chateau Elan’s Chateau Course.

Lloyd is playing against some of the premier junior talent with 32 other players from the state, and 96 players in all, representing 14 different states for the two-day, 36-hole stroke-play format. This is his first AJGA event in his young career, and with a top-10 finish knows he earns an exemption for a regular season AJGA event later on this summer.

The Chateau Course, which recently played host to the Division III national championships, is going to be a formidable challenge for the junior golfers with its play at about 7,000 yards on the par 71 course.

"This is a really big tournament for me," Lloyd said. "That’s my goal is to get in the top 10."

To help make for a more flawless swing, Lloyd is also working regularly with golf instructor Don Williams Jr. at Chattahoochee.

"I think my mechanics are good," Lloyd added. "We’re just working on my alignment."

Once Lloyd makes his way to the course his play parallels his attitude about preparation. While he likes to laugh and make it enjoyable with his friends, it’s more important to focus on the little details which are necessary to become a dominant golfer in the junior ranks.



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