Golf

Frederica’s Henderson to play college golf at Coastal Georgia

Frederica's Henderson to play college golf at Coastal Georgia

Thomas Henderson enjoyed his lone year in the Golden Isles so much, he figured he would stick around for a few more.

Henderson transferred to Frederica Academy for his senior season following three years at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, and he recently committed to playing his collegiate golf at Coastal Georgia, where he’ll be the first Glynn County player on the Mariners’ roster since former Glynn Academy standout Mark David Johnson.

Coastal Georgia men’s golf coach Mike Cook was quick to jump on Henderson upon his arrival to the area. In fact, all it took was one look at Henderson in a Jones Cup qualifier for Cook to extend an offer.

A lot of my players were playing in the same qualifier that were at Coastal,” Cook said. “And he beat every one of them but one when he was 16. That’s all I need to see.

“I basically offered him a scholarship then.”

Though Henderson demonstrated immediate interest in playing at Coastal Georgia, Cook said the two fell out of touch for a bit during the season. Meanwhile, Henderson continued to prove the Mariners were right in their evaluation.

A three-time All-City selection in Ohio, Henderson picked up right where he left off in his first tournament at Frederica, shooting a 70 at Osprey Cove to finish as the low medalist at the Camden Classic.

A month and a half later, Henderson won the Stafford Invitational with what Frederica Academy golf coach Tom Willis described as “one of the best high school rounds” he’d seen in his 30-year coaching career.

Playing for the first time at Idle Hour in Macon, Henderson shot a 67 to tie a program record held by Tanner Smith, Park Brady, Jack O’Hara, Sarut Vongchaisit and Ryan McHugh, and became just the second Knight to win the event along with Dru Love in 2012.

Over his four-year prep career, Henderson medaled 11 times total.

“I talked to Tom Willis the other day, and he said, ‘You’re getting a very good one,’” Cook said.

But Cook wasn’t sure of that until this summer when he ran into Henderson, who informed the coach he would be attending Coastal Georgia in the fall.

The Mariners are coming off a campaign that saw the program win its first Sun Conference championship and finish seventh at the NAIA National Tournament. Jackson Lawlor, Chip Thompson and George Langham were selected to the All-American first, second and third teams, respectively.

Both Lawlor and Thompson will return to the team as fifth-year seniors, as will Langham, who was a freshman a season ago. Graduate Shaun Margeson is the only member of the Mariners’ starting five that must be replaced, leaving the Coastal Georgia roster short on openings.

For Cook, it was Henderson or bust.

“I did have room for one, and I saved it for Thomas,” Cook said. “It was always there, and if he didn’t come, I just wasn’t going to bring anybody in.

“Lo and behold, he’s coming.”

Henderson hasn’t slowed down since his prep career came to a close in May. Last month alone, Henderson shot a 212 to finish T28 at the Golden Isles Invitational at the Brunswick Country Club before going on to finish T3 at the HJGT’s Mid Season Invitational at Sea Palms with a 54-hole score of 220.

A couple of days later, Henderson shot a 218 and finished T24 at the inaugural AJGA Sam Burns Classic at The Landings Club in Savannah, and he followed up the performance by finishing T6 with a 221 at the AJGA Arnold Palmer Invitational Junior in Orlando last week.

“I think he’s going to really help us,” Cook said. “He’s playing some very good golf right now.”

Henderson will get the opportunity to play his first collegiate event in the comfort of his new home when the Mariners open their fall season with the Coastal Georgia Fall Invitational on September 13-14 at Sea Palms.

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