On Tuesday, Gainesville’s Hudson Justus was able to lift a memorable trophy high and proud.
After a phenomenal finish at the Dothan Country Club, despite off-and-on inclement weather, the fourth-grade student at Mount Vernon Elementary laid claim to the 10-and-under Press Thornton Future Masters championship in Dothan, Alabama.
“My wife and I just grinned at each other driving back home last night,” Hudson’s father, Scott Justus said. “We’re floating so high and so excited for Hudson.”
Over two rounds, Justus carded a 1-under par (69) on the course that plays about 5,000 yards, — quite a distance for young amateur golfers.
To celebrate, Hudson’s father said they will have a family celebration this weekend in Jekyll Island, in conjunction with his work duties as assistant superintendent of White County Schools.
Justus was one of 44 players in the invitation-only Future Masters, which seeks to single out the top junior players.
Hudson made his mark on the final four holes, after going down by a shot after a bogey on the 14th.
On both 15 and 16, Justus laced a long tee shot, close to 200 yards down the fairway, and put his second shot just a few feet from the pin to make back-to-back birdies.
Then on the final hole, Hudson made a par putt to lock up the victory.
Wearing matching pink shorts and hats as a family, Scott was unable to talk with his son during competition. However, Scott saw his son get into a zone after dropping the lead with only four holes left to play.
“Hudson’s composure took over and he behaved with such maturity,” Scott said.
Hudson was never pointed into the direction of playing golf, his father said, but was inspired by watching ‘The Short Game’ on Netflix at the mere age of 3.
By the time he was 5, Justus was entering his first junior event at Chateau Elan.
Since he’s now 9, Justus can defend his title in 2022 at the Future Masters.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Hudson and what he’s accomplished,” Scott said. “I have no idea what the future holds for him playing golf. But this is something he set his sights to achieving and did it.”