When Amelia Williams was just a youngster, going out to a golf course with her dad, Griffin, the big draw wasn’t necessary hitting a golf ball.
For the then-9 year old, it was driving the golf cart.
“I told her she had to hit the ball to the 150-yard mark in the air before she could drive the golf cart,” Griffin Williams said.
Six to seven months after his challenge, Amelia was driving that golf cart and soon after that she was driving golf balls into the fairway.
The Buchholz sophomore shot a season-low 69 in leading Bobcats to Jill Darr (Alachua County) title, a 76 toward the team’s ninth straight district title and a strong showing at 4A state, finishing 21st individually and 10th place as a team.
Jake Davis, a sophomore at P.K. Yonge, hurt his right leg midway through the season, but it didn’t slow him down—individual champion at Alachua County Ann/John Ives Invitational (74), District 6-1A low medalist (72), second individually at regionals (72) and 34th out of 94 competitors at 1A state (80-78).
For their outstanding efforts, Williams and Davis are The Sun’s Golfers of the Year.
“I think that is a funny story, because that is the reason she started getting into golf,” Griffin Williams said of his daughter, Amelia.
“My sister and I started playing and it was really competitive between us,” Amelia Williams said. “After about a month, she didn’t want to play.
“I like the competitiveness in trying to beat her. But then it was fun to go out with my dad.”
When her game flourished and after some professional coaching, Amelia was ready for tournaments at 10.
“Once she got in tournaments, she got the taste of being competitive,” Griffin Williams said.
“One of the girls was Lauryn (Muzzey),” Amelia Williams said. “We played on the Gainesville Junior Golf Tour when we were really young and really competitive. She started picking up the game again about two years ago to play on our golf team.
“My first tournament was when I was 10 or 11 on the U.S. Kids Golf Tour in Jacksonville, then I played Florida Junior Tour and now Gainesville Junior Golf Tour.”
One of Amelia’s biggest influences as she continued to learn about golf has been fellow Gainesville Country Club resident and Gator senior Taylor Tomlinson. Her drive to improve her game, working hours out on the golf course, impressed the budding junior golfer.
“I knew she was really good and when I heard she had committed to UF golf team,” Amelia Williams said. “She was fun to play with. She was out there every single day.”
Davis, who has played golf since he was five, grew up watching Tiger Woods dominating the golf scene.
“I wanted to play like Tiger Woods when I was little,” he said. “I would go to driving ranges and hit the balls out. My short game is probably my strongest area in golf.”
Scoring a 35.6 nine-hole average, Davis says his driving could improve but he makes up for it with his recovery shots and short game.
“I felt like I could have done better, he said. “I injured my right leg in the middle of the season.”
Davis, who won his first tournament at 8 in only his second competition, says his second-round play at North Florida Junior Championships at Reunion Resort in Osceola County stood out as his best round the season.
“It was the second day and I shot a 67,” Davis said. “That was probably the most fun I’ve had playing golf. I could have probably shot four shots better it was probably because of my putter.
“Right now it is probably my driver (that needs most work). I make it up with my short game and recovery shots. I like how he plays (Tiger). It’s fun to watch him win.”