Clark’s Garrett Endicott said nerves go the best of him the last time he competed at Legacy Hills Golf Club in Georgetown.That probably shouldn’t be a shocker. Endicott, then a freshman, was competing in the biggest high school tournament of his life — the UIL state championships.
He finished 12 shots above par and was in the middle of the pack on the final leaderboard.
“I didn’t play it too well,” Endicott said. “I actually kind of tensed up. I got into the moment.”
Endicott gets another chance on the same course when the UIL state championships start on Monday. It’s the first state golf championships since 2019 after the pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s event.
Endicott enters this year’s state tournament with confidence built off success from the high school and national golf scenes over the previous two years.
“My experience has finally caught up with me,” Endicott said. “When I get out on the course, I don’t feel the tension as much as I used to. Now, I have a lot more confidence because I knew what to expect and I know what to do.”
Monday and Tuesday
6A: Legacy Hills GC, Georgetown
5A: White Wing GC, Georgetown
4A: Plum Creek GC, Kyle
3A: Shadow Glen GC, Manor
2A: Legends GC, Kingsland
1A: Lighthouse CC, Kingsland
Endicott qualified for state by winning the Region IV-6A tournament by seven shots at Palmview Golf Course in McAllen on April 21-22. He shot 70 and 67 for a two-round 137.
Two years ago, Endicott finished fifth at the regional tournament held at Republic Golf Course in San Antonio with a 72-70 — 142.
Endicott is a regular on the American Junior Golf Association national circuit. He’s honed his game by playing in seven AJGA events since July.
In his most recent event — the PING Heather Farr Classic held in early April in Meza, Ariz. — Endicott finished tied for fifth with a 6-under 207, shooting 70-67-70.
That was his best performance since July when he won the AJGA Junior at River Crossing in Spring Branch. He prevailed in a playoff against Timothy Jung after both shot 6-under 210 in regulation.
Endicott’s victory at River Crossing was significant, Clark coach Chris Weil said.
“That changed his game,” Weil said. “There are these plateaus and stepping stones that you go through, and I’ve been telling him that he was capable, and he could do it. When he broke through and was able to get that first win, that gave him that boost of confidence.”
Endicott carried that confidence into the high school season where COVID-19 restrictions altered the schedules and shortened tournaments. None of that bothered Endicott.
“High school golf has been all the same, but different,” Weil said. “Garrett played well and consistent throughout the year.”
Along with getting experience playing against national-level competition, Weil said Endicott is a smarter player. Endicott can hit long off the tee, however that length has been a detriment at times.
“I was not hitting the correct shots with the correct clubs,” Endicott said. “I was putting myself in position where I was probably closer to the green, but it was harder to score. In some cases, it was better to be 100 yards back.”
Weil said that realization has been the biggest reason for Endicott’s improvement over the last two years.
“Garrett, as far as a ball striker goes, is extraordinarily long with his driver,” Weil said. “He can challenge players to get out of their norm to keep up with him, but that’s not his strength.
“What I’ve learned being his coach over the last couple of years is he’s the first one to leave the driver in the bag and say, ‘No let’s take this 5-iron and put it in this spot.’ He’s learned that’s how you score, and that’s how you consistently end up at the top of the field.”
Endicott said researching courses has been helpful. For the regional tournament, he researched Palmview Golf Course — one he had never played before — by speaking with players who had played there, studied yardage books, and pulled up images of the course via Google Maps. When he got to Palmview, he knew what to do.
“I’ve learned how to pick apart a course,” Endicott said. “It’s helped me a lot. I’ve put myself more consistently in positions where I can score. It’s been a game-changer. It’s definitely helped me shoot of lot of the better scores that I’ve shot.”