Braxton Caldwell fulfilled a dream last week when won the Region 10 golf tournament. It’s something he’s been chasing since playing in his first regional tournament as a seventh grader.
The Pineville senior said it was coming very close to winning the region on his home course at Wasioto Winds last year that fueled his success this season.
Caldwell was leading at two under par with four holes left to play before falling out of contention.
“After I had pretty much choked last year, my dad told me you have to learn how to lose before you can win,” he said. “Being so close to winning the Region last year, but then losing and not even making it to State — that set a fire under me. I was not letting that happen again.”
He went to Knoxville for swing lessons from Jason Gandy and a snap-hook that was causing his misses to sail to the left was corrected.
“I don’t have to worry about that snap-hook anymore, it’s out of my thoughts completely and I’ve just got good feelings,” he said. “After that I won the Mountain Laurel for the first time, shot 66-70, and it was probably my biggest win.”
The improvement and the confidence that comes with it was on full display Tuesday as the region went to a sudden death playoff that Caldwell won on the first hole.
“When it comes down to pressure moments I can rely on my swing now. I have confidence because I’ve put the work in.”
Caldwell has verbally committed to play golf at Division I Morehead State. He hopes to leave a legacy at Pineville.
“In my opinion the reason Clay County has such a good team is because they had a guy like Chip McDaniel to come through a few years ago. Now he’s on tour and making the cut at the U.S. Open,” Caldwell said. “That motivated the younger generation, they wanted to be like Chip. Hopefully, the younger kids here will see me and be like ‘Hey, I want to win region some day.’ So they practice and practice and maybe one day Pineville will have a complete golf team.”