For Jack Britt junior golfer Spencer Oxendine, his weekly focus isn’t on the matches he’s playing for the Buccaneer golf team in the Sandhills Athletic Conference.
Sure, they’re important. But Oxendine is looking at the long game – and not just his drives.
“I keep looking toward my end goal, which is to be on the PGA Tour and be one of the top players in the world,’’ Oxendine said.
Toward that end, the mental aspect of golf has become as important to him as the physical. He’s spent a lot of time talking with Press McPhaul, his future golf coach at North Carolina State.
“He and I dove into the mind aspect of the golf game,’’ Oxendine said. “He’s got me looking forward, not more of the week-to-week scores, more of a process.’’
He’s also been having sessions with a sports psychologist. “She’s got my mind in the right spot,’’ he said. “I’ve grown a lot.’’
But he hasn’t ignored the physical part of the sport either. He spent more time lifting weights last year, and he’s added some distance off the tee.
“His game is real sharp, his control through the bag, from driver down to the putter,” said Britt golf coach Ray Musselwhite. “It’s a complete game right now. He’s real comfortable with his swing. He’s increased his club-head speed.’’
In the first two regular-season matches in the Sandhills Athletic Conference, Oxendine recorded consecutive rounds of 68 at the Bayonet at Puppy Creek and Gates Four.
Musselwhite said that’s the result of consistent ball striking, controlling the ball and the flow of the round.
That’s not to say everything has been perfect for Oxendine so far. “He stumbled and had a couple of bogeys and holes that gave him trouble,’’ Musselwhite said. “To bounce back from that, to regroup, is showing the level of golf maturity that’s necessary to compete at a high level.’’
As far as the regular season is concerned, Oxendine is likely competing at the highest level he’s ever had to because of the difficulty of the competition.
Realignment of conferences by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association moved Britt into the Sandhills Athletic Conference with Pinecrest, which has won the last three state 4-A team golf championships and had two of the last three individual winners.
“I need to hit fairways and I need to hit greens,’’ Oxendine said. “I can’t shrug it off.’’
At the same time, he continues focusing on the long game. “I don’t really worry about my numbers and where I’m at in the field,’’ he said. “There’s a lot less focus on that, more thinking about my future and what I want to do.’’
One goal Oxendine is looking toward is this year’s state 4-A championship. In last year’s state meet he finished in a three-way tie for ninth at Pinehurst No. 6, shooting 75-73-148. That was 12 shots behind state champion A.J. Beechler of Pinecrest.
This season, he thinks he’s one of five players around the state that will be serious contenders for the title.
“I know all the guys that are going to contend and I think I have a good shot at it,’’ he said. “If I don’t win, it’s not the end of the world.
“But I would love to win it because of the list of guys that have won it. I definitely have a great chance at it.’’
Photo: Spencer Oxendine