When it comes to selling himself to local collegiate golf coaches, Davis Bowyer should have no shortage of ammo.
Not only is the Fort Walton Beach senior the consummate team player, setting the tone in practice with an unmatched work ethic both in the offseason and regular season, but his scores are scratch-golfer low and ice runs through his veins in the clutch.
And oh yeah, he also takes direction well.
Redefining the word “coachable,” Bowyer rose to the challenge in regional play when called upon by Vikings coach John Lavin.
Like a basketball coach putting the ball in his go-to player’s hands in the waning seconds of a tie game, Bowyer was asked to deliver on the par-4 16th hole at Seminole Golf Course in Tallahassee.
“We were the last to go off, and we needed to cut some strokes,” Lavin said. “Davis had just come off bogey and I told him that we needed him to step up and be aggressive and go after it.”
So how did the senior respond?
“He knocked it in from 100 yards for Eagle,” Lavin said.
While the pin-tracking shot didn’t help advance the team to state or punch his ticket to prep golf’s biggest stage, it did lead to a team-low 73 and capped off a career that peaked at the right time.
For instance, despite a slow start to the season that included a season -worst 81, Bowyer closed out the season with a 73 in the Miracle Strip Invitational, a runner-up 69 to lead the Vikings to a district tournament title and the aforementioned 73 at regionals to finish with a 74.6 scoring average.
“When you invest in your game and work hard, good things will happen,” Lavin said. “And he’s a testament that philosophy.”
The scores were the backbone of a team that twice shot below 300, a milestone not accomplished since 2009, and the blazing finish earned Bowyer the Daily News’ Boys Golfer of the Year.
“It feels really good,” Bowyer said. “It was just a really solid year. Everything went how we expected.”
From the team success emerged several standouts, which made Bowyer’s achievement that much more noteworthy.
“It could have gone to a couple of his teammates, Brock and Corey,” Lavin said. “It says a lot about the strength of our team, which could probably go 10 deep. In practice, that made qualifying very tough on some people, and there were times earlier in the year that Davis could have easily sat with others playing well enough to deserve a varsity spot. But we stayed with him and we brought a district championship back to the school with Davis’ 69, so he really stepped up especially at the end.”
And because of his clutch efforts, Bowyer is currently being courted by a few colleges.
That Includes the University of Montevallo in Alabama, which Bowyer visited on Friday.
“It’s a good, solid golf team that I can play on as a freshman,” Bowyer said of being a Falcon.
And one of his biggest fans, Lavin, said Bowyer is well deserving of the attention.
“He’s just a really good kid who had a really good year,” Lavin said. “He made a commitment in the summer to be a real good player. He invested the time, even got a job at a course to be closer to the game and just put in the work. He really wanted to be a college golfer and the hard work paid off.”
Bloor goes back-to-back
When it comes to reflecting on her tenure at Niceville, Kayla Bloor has no regrets.
And really, who can blame her?
In what may be the most dominant four-year stretch ever experienced by an Eagles golfer, highlighted by a 2011 Class 2A team title, Bloor blazed a new trail with every birdie, pin-tracking iron shot and booming drive.
And there was no shortage of those this season, which Bloor might as well have labeled “The unstoppable swan song tour.”
To wit: In 10 nine-hole rounds, the senior averaged a below-par score of 35. That included a 4-under 32 at Rocky Bayou, a number only once achieved in the rich history of Niceville girls golf.
“I haven’t seen a year like this in awhile,” Niceville coach Mitch Inness said. “We’ve had some girls come close to averaging below par, but it’s probably been 10 years since anyone did it. Her past two seasons, they’re right up there in the same class with (2002 Niceville graduate) Sharla Cloutier, who went on to play golf at Princeton.”
In 18-hole rounds, there wasn’t much of a dropoff. Even with an uncharacteristic 82 and 83 at state, which can be chalked up to a cold that had her contemplating a trip to the hospital, Bloor averaged a 77. That included a 74 to win the Miracle Strip Invitational, a 72 in district play and a top-medalist 74 to take home top-medalist honors at the regional level.
Inness said the success was a result of both hard work and mental fortitude.
“Physically, she’s got everything as far as golf’s concerned,” he said. “And mentally, she‘s intelligent and she can think her way around a golf course as well as anyone. And it took a great work ethic to get there. Being successful is about not taking a break when the season’s over, working from November to August to get better. That’s what she did.”
Aside from the subpar effort on golf’s biggest stage, a venue where she has already proved herself the year before, the bevy of low rounds were a fitting tribute to a storied tenure.
“I’m pretty happy with how my high school career went,” said Bloor, who started playing competitively around the age of 12. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”
And she was even more pleased Monday afternoon upon receiving the news of her second consecutive Daily News’ Girls Golfer of the Year accolade.
”It’s amazing and a huge honor,” she said. “I felt so blessed to receive the award last year, and this year it feels amazing.”
But that isn’t the only good news Bloor is celebrating these days. Always focused on the bigger picture, which still remains a future as an LPGA tour player, Bloor has parlayed her stellar play into a spot on the Florida State University golf team.
Drawing the attendance of FSU head coach Amy Bond and Auburn head coach Kim Evans, Bloor received the scholarship offer after her first-place finish in region play.
“Coach Bond offered me a spot and I happily took it,” she said. “I always wanted to play collegiate golf, so it’s really a dream come true.”