LEDE Canon Claycomb – 2017 – PING Invitational

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LEDE Canon Claycomb - 2017 - PING Invitational

Less than 24 hours after winning his first AJGA title while breaking one of Jordan Spieth’s junior golf records, Canon Claycomb was back on the golf course. Only this time he was caddying in the first stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

Claycomb, a 15-year-old standout from Bowling Green, Ky., won the AJGA Ping Invitational with a 9-under 207 total around Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. The score was a stroke better than Spieth’s 8-under winning total in 2010. Later that evening, Claycomb boarded a plane for Charlotte, N.C., and by 8:30 the next morning had arrived at The Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, N.C., to loop for friend and pro golfer Charlie Bull.

Talk about a kid who can’t get enough of this game.

He asked me the day before I left for Ping if I would caddie, and I said yeah, Claycomb said. So I got to celebrate by myself on the way to Charlotte.

The trip, which included a layover in Chicago, gave Claycomb plenty of time to read his many text messages. There was one from David Toms, who captained Claycomb in last month’s Junior Presidents Cup. It was there that Toms boosted Claycomb’s confidence by sending him out early in the final day’s singles session and telling the youngster that he believed in him. Claycomb delivered with a 5-and-4 victory to help the U.S. to a decisive victory.

He texted me, ‘I knew you were going to do it,’ Claycomb said.

Similar messages came from Ian Poulter, who lives in Lake Nona (Claycomb and his family moved to the Orlando, Fla., community last summer), and Claycomb’s mother, Ericah, who normally travels with her son to tournaments but didn’t make the trip to Stillwater.

It’s been a long time coming, Claycomb said. I’ve been close a bunch and every loss she’s been there. She couldn’t be there this time to see the win, but talking to her and texting her was pretty cool.

Claycomb’s father, Jason, was there to witness his son’s first AJGA victory. Claycomb said that his dad knew about Spieth’s record, but chose not to tell his son during the event. Canon didn’t need any extra incentive, especially in the final round.

My goal all day was to get it to double digits; I didn’t really care what I won by, Claycomb said. I wanted to just get it to 10 and then I bogeyed 16, so I didn’t really have a chance at that, but I wanted to shoot under par on the day.

Claycomb’s drive at the closing par-5 18thhole left him just 244 yards in. Claycomb then ripped a 2-iron to 15 feet and made the eagle putt. His closing 1-under 71 moved him to 9 under, 10 shots better than his next closest competitor and a shot better than Spieth’s mark.

It likely won’t be the last record Claycomb breaks. Claycomb is the second-ranked Class of 2020 golfer by the AJGA andGolfweek. He is uncommitted but has fielded interest from several top colleges.

The move to Florida figures only to help Claycomb’s golf game, as he can now play golf year-round while also being around Lake Nona’s many PGA Tour residents, such as Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell. Claycomb has good competition in Orlando, too, whether it’s developmental tour players such as Bull or Claycomb’s high-school teammate at Circle Christian School, Florida commit Eugene Hong.

It’s very nice to have him on the same team for Circle Christian, Hong said, and I think we have a pretty good chance at a state title this year.

Claycomb also now works with Lake Nona pro Gregor Jamieson, though he still sees instructor Matt Killen, who teaches out of The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green and instructs the likes of J.B. Holmes, Patrick Rodgers and 2016-17 PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas.

I’ve texted JT a few times and asked him questions, Claycomb said. I also followed him and Rickie (Fowler) at the Presidents Cup and got to pick their brains. At Lake Nona, I’m playing with guys like Charlie and a bunch of Latin and Canadian tour guys, who are all trying to make it on the PGA Tour just like we all want to do. And then I’ve hit balls next to guys like Poulter on the range.

That’s the stuff that most 15-year-old golfers dream of. Yet it’s all a reality for Claycomb.

I’ve been very fortunate, Claycomb said. And I’ve been very lucky.

Luck, though, has had nothing to do with Claycomb’s development into one of the top juniors in the country.

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