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Panther tees up for Shorter
Ben Floyds swing, grades get scholarship
Liberty County Panther golfer Ben Floyd shakes hands with Shorter College golf coach Greg Owens after signing a scholarship Friday morning. Standing next to Owens is Panther golf coach Jerome Standard and seated with Floyd is his family including step-father Chuck Smith, mom Cindy Smith, father Ricky Floyd and brother John Floyd. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Ben Floyd will be hitting the links in Rome as the senior penned his name to a scholarship to become an Eagle and play golf at Shorter College Friday morning.

Floyd, who said he is planning on becoming a lawyer and will study political science, said it was something he always wanted.

"My dad started playing and I started playing and I got addicted to it and started playing full time," he said. "I got real serious with it and decided I wanted to go to college to play."

His father, Ricky Floyd, said he would take Ben and his older brother John out to the golf course as a way to have father-and-son time with his two boys. He said he never thought his son would pursue golf as far as he did.

"It makes me proud that he’s been that focused," dad said. "He’s done well academically and he’s a good golfer so with Shorter that will get him critiqued out for future career things and whatever he wants to do. It’s up to him to make it work."

Floyd said his best outing as a Panther golfer was the day he shot a 34 at a tournament at Cherokee Rose Country Club in Hinesville.

"It was pretty tough that day," he said. "So I was pretty happy with that."

Panther golf coach Jerome Standard said Floyd was almost always the low medalist throughout his high school career.

"This has been Ben’s goal all along," Standard said. "He excelled in a single sport. He is also a baseball player but he has chosen to put his time into golf and it worked out well for him. Ben is a student athlete in every sense of the word."

Floyd’s step-father Chuck Smith said Shorter was a great choice. Smith said Shorter offers small classes, but has a stringent academic program.

"He has to maintain a 3.6 gpa to keep his scholarship," Smith said. "His academics are superior to his golf and he is a great golfer. He hurt his shoulder playing baseball when he was about 11-12 years old and went from a full time baseball player to a golfer and he has worked tremendously hard on golf and his academics. It is very rewarding for him and his mother and me."

"It’s great," mom Cindy Smith said. "It’s a relief. He’s been working for this for a long time academically and practicing golf so it’s finally paying off."

Floyd said he is happy he will get the opportunity to play golf while furthering his education. He said he is excited about the Eagles’ future.

"We got a young team with some pretty good talent on it so the next couple of years we should look pretty good," he said.

His older brother John said Floyd deserves the opportunity.

"He put a lot of hard work into it," he said.

John Floyd said they both enjoy hitting the greens. He said they make a good team, but as always, there is a bit of sibling rivalry.

"When we are playing against other friends we normally can take them down," he said. "I don’t talk much trash because I don’t beat him a whole lot, but in the back of my mind I’m beating him."

Shorter College golf coach Greg Owens said most of the golfers on the team are excellent students. He said it was one of the primary reasons he recruited Floyd.

He said Floyd’s grades are outstanding and described him as a pleasant person with a very quiet demeanor.

"Our team is ranked number 16 and we have a fellow from Sweden who might win the National Championship," Owens said. "The interesting thing about that is Ben came out and played a practice round with us and beat him. So how excited do you think I am?"

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