2012 BOYS GOLFER OF THE YEAR: MODESTY (AND STRONG PLAY) THE BEST POLICY FOR SIMMONS

by C. Jemal Horton

Myers Park junior Andy Simmons averaged 36.8 shots over nine holes this season. C. Jemal Horton/SCW photo

While it certainly is a commendable character trait, there are times when Andy Simmons borders on being irritatingly modest.

Ask the Myers Park High School golfer the average distance of his shots off the tee, and he, almost in embarrassed fashion, says, “Only about 280 (yards).” Never mind that Simmons weighs just 140 pounds and usually hits those 280-yard shots straighter than uncooked spaghetti.

Ask what Simmons GPA is, he shrugs and says, “It’s OK.” And for those scoring at home, “OK” is a 4.75 GPA, in Simmons’ case.

“But that’s weighted,” the junior warns. “It’s not that high un-weighted.”

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Simmons was a bit underwhelmed by the season he had for the Mustangs this spring, when he posted a nine-hole scoring average of 36.8 and tied for 10th place at the Class 4A state tournament.

But while Simmons is hesitant to toot his own horn, others are quick to strike up the band for him.

“Andy sets high expectations for himself,” Myers Park coach Jason Lockwood said. “It doesn’t mean he had a bad season; it just means that maybe it wasn’t up to his standards. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing setting high goals. He’s a hard worker and expects good results.

“Just like professionals, things are going to go wrong, and you’re going to face a little adversity. But I thought Andy had a great season.”

Simmons, who helped Myers Park to the Southwestern 4A conference championship and a third-place team finish at the state meet, is being recruited by a number of college golf programs. He also is Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2012 South Charlotte and Southern Mecklenburg Boys Golfer of the Year.

“I wasn’t really expecting this award,” Simmons said. “I had a good season, but it wasn’t, like, fantastic. I think I had a good conference season, and then I played OK in the conference tournament and regionals. And I guess I played well on the second day at states (shooting a 71 after opening with a 77). But it wasn’t great.

“I also wanted to help our team to win states. We didn’t do that, either, so it was all a little disappointing.”

Simmons’ high expectations are understandable. In each of his first two seasons of high school golf, he was named the Southwestern 4A Player of the Year, but this year, the award went to Ardrey Kell sophomore Hunter Oxford. Nonetheless, Simmons has had conversations with coaches from Wake Forest, North Carolina, Virginia, Wofford, Richmond and Davidson (where his dad, L.D., played).

With so many strong programs still on his trail, can Simmons finally admit that he had a strong season this spring?

“Knowing those schools are interested in me is pretty cool,” he conceded. “But I want to do better next year. I want to win conference player of the year again, and I want my team to win states.

“I just have to keep practicing and practicing every day. I just have to get my mind-set right.”

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