MYRTLE BEACH S.C. – For most of his 18 years, Davis “Dru” Love IV has spent Easter weekend at Augusta National Golf Club, following his famous father at the Masters.
But this weekend, with his father back home resting up for a record sixth win in next week’s RBC Heritage, Love IV is off on his own playing in the Palmetto High School Golf Championship in Myrtle Beach.
“I was there just about every year, and definitely every year my dad was playing,” Love IV said after shooting 2-over 74 at The Legends Resort’s Moorland Course. “That was a great experience to get to go to Augusta and see the course and all the great players as a kid.”
Love IV is well on his way to crossing over to the other side of the ropes at Augusta one day. As one of the top juniors in the nation, the 6-foot-3-inch high school senior is starting to make a name for himself.
Love IV has won major junior tournaments, but it was his early experiences at the majors, particularly the Masters, that erased any doubts he might have had about following in his father’s spike marks.
Unlike many PGA Tour players, Love III enjoyed bringing the whole family along to many tournaments. While some preferred peace and quiet after their rounds, Love III wanted to be surrounded by loved ones.
“I got to go to a lot of tournaments, and that’s one of the things that made me want to be a professional golfer,”Love IV said. “It wasn’t just the Masters. It was the whole experience.”
Love IV has decided to retain his amateur status for the foreseeable future, recently choosing to play collegiate golf at Alabama over his father’s alma mater, North Carolina.
Love III left the decision up to Dru, although he did say that he enjoyed tagging along on official visits to different schools during football season. Love IV is happy he has crossed his college choice off his to-do list.
“I really like Alabama, and I’m looking forward to playing there for the next few years,” he said. “I’m just glad it’s over with. I got tired of answering questions about where I was going to go.”
With that big decision out of the way, Love IV can focus on leading his team to titles, beginning with this weekend’s Palmetto tournament – and hopefully ending with a Georgia state championship.
Love IV is accustomed to playing in big tournaments as an individual. But with his Frederica Academy (St. Simons Island, Ga.) teammates in tow, this national event featuring 52 top programs from as far as California, is all about the team.
“It’s different because it’s a team tournament, and there are lot of great teams and players out here,” Love IV said. “This is one we would really like to win, but we’re having a good time too. We’re all going to hang out tonight and get ready for tomorrow. That’s when it counts.”
The originally scheduled 54-hole tournament has been shortened to 36 after Thursday’s qualifying round was rained out. Teams qualified on Friday instead, leaving Saturday’s round to decide the championship.
Frederica qualified in a fifth-place tie with Tupelo (Miss.), each shooting a four-man score of 22-over 310, good enough to get in Saturday’s championship flight. They will be competing with Forsyth Country Day (297), Myers Park High and Salisbury High (302) and Palm Desert High (307), among others, for the tournament’s top title.
Par 72 was the low mark in wet and windy conditions on Friday, with Cole Nastasi (Mt. Tabor), Will Starke (Chapin), Austin Morrison (Myers Park) and Christian Chican (Providence) firing 72s, but those scores also will be wiped away for Saturday’s final round of play.