Roberts' no-fear attitude earns him Golf MVP

May 29—Roberts' no-fear attitude earns eighth-grader Golf MVP honors

Jack Roberts may have only be an eighth-grader, but after earning the top on Frederica Academy's golf team this season and shining in the postseason tournaments, he earns The News' golf MVP honors.

Roberts is no stranger to being put in pressure-type situations as he's played in and won junior golf tournaments all over the country. That no-fear attitude he has is what coach Tom Willis said makes him unique.

"It seems like every putt he hits gets to the hole or just past it. He's not timid on the putting green," Willis said. "I think that's a strength and a weakness because he'll three-putt a lot, but he also makes a lot of birdies that way. He'll pull off difficult shots, and he's not worried about hitting a bad shot. He's always going forward 100% more than any golfer I've ever seen.

"He plays very aggressively. I've tried a little bit to reel him back on that, but that's not how he likes to play. A lot of that you want to let him go ahead and do it because he's probably a better player that way. When you're shooting scores at low, you don't need a lot of coaching, at least on the high school level, if you're easily under par. We kind of just let him go, and he comes through."

Roberts and his dad, Kevin, moved from Camden County a couple of years ago to play and coach at Frederica. Kevin is the middle school golf coach and helps coach Jack.

Willis said it didn't take long for Jack to make a name for himself at Frederica.

"He immediately played himself up to the No.1 spot on the varsity as soon as he started in eighth grade," Willis said. "He was going back and forth with two other guys on the team, Jackson Byrd and Thomas Henderson, for the No. 1 spot on the team, and it was within decimal points of scoring average amongst the three of them for who played number one. So I rotated them during the year. He's a great player, but he works really hard, and he's probably the most tournament harden player that I've ever seen."

Roberts averaged a 74.2 score this season, just behind fellow eighth-grader Jackson Byrd who averaged 74.2 a round. However, Roberts' 70 at state and 71 at regionals pushed him to earn the MVP honors. Willis said it's because he's used to that pressure.

"The two biggest tournaments of the year as far as GISA is concerned, he's breaking par in both of them. He's a good kid, hard worker, respectful, and listens to what you say — just what any coach would want really," Willis said. "You hardly ever see anything like that. I'm sure maybe it happens with a few players, but he was very good at a very young age and so was in all the big tournaments and was winning many of those. It's kind of what he knows. Tournaments don't make him nervous or bother him, which is very rare to have a kid that is that seasoned."

Roberts is already smoking his driver around 280-290 yards on average. Even if he isn't the biggest kid on the team, he's found a way to control his swing and gain distance.

"He has a swing that is a little bit different than anyone I've ever seen — it's something he does with his feet and his lower body," Willis said. "I think he just picked it up himself as a way to increase distance, but he puts a good move on it.

Jack gets everything out of it, and so it'll be interesting to see because he's going to grow. He's not that tall yet. So it'll be interesting to see how he grows and maintain control as he has. Even though he hits it really long, he's also got good control."

Roberts is just getting his career started at Frederica but has already made a name for himself. He's also competing this summer at an international tournament in France that he was invited to as he's one of two Americans representing the United States.