Richmond Hill High School golfer Tyler Steptoe recently nabbed first place in the Coastal Carolina Junior Classic golf tournament.
This, along with the fact that he has gained the reputation as the best high school level golfer in Bryan County, has garnered him the June Bryan County Athlete of the Month Award.
"Tyler is extremely deserving of this award," said RHHS golf coach Alex Gray. "He has a lot of poise and a lot of character. He is very respectful of his teammates, myself as a coach, and of the game of golf itself. He shows up every day with a desire to get better and to lead his teammates on and off the course. I’m excited to see what he’ll do this year and I know he will make it to the next level."
Over the last several years, rising RHHS senior Steptoe has led the Wildcat golf team as the top scorer. In the off-season, Steptoe has three years experience on the Georgia Junior PGA Tour and has started this year with the brand new Hurricane Junior Golf Tour.
His most recent victory was with the Hurricane Tour. Steptoe fired rounds of 75-78 to win by four strokes over Hollywood native Michael Wolf. With the victory, Tyler receives an automatic bid to the tour championship of the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour in Tampa, Florida.
"He has a very quiet style of leadership," Gray said. "It’s understood by everybody that he’s the best, but you’ll never know that by watching his demeanor. He’s very nonchalant and he’s quick to help people in a way that is not belittling them. He’s very secure in his abilities and he doesn’t mind helping people. If you were around the team for five minutes, you would never know he was the best on our team unless you watched him play. He considers himself one of the guys, but he’s a very strong leader."
"He is the kind of person that I would choose to hang out with as a friend if I was on his level," Gray continued. "He knows the difference between right and wrong. His character is unparalleled for most kids his age. He knows who he’s supposed to be, and he doesn’t stray away from that. He doesn’t try to be anything he’s not. He’s just a remarkable kid."
Perhaps it is Steptoe’s persistence that has garnered him the success he has experienced thus far on the golf course.
"Tyler is addicted to practice," said former coach Tom Morris, who coached Steptoe during his freshman and sophomore years at RHHS. "He works at his game and enjoys it at the same time. He’s not the kind of person that throws their clubs when they make a mistake. His demeanor on the course is very competitive but very sportsmanlike."
Steptoe began casually playing golf with his dad at a very young age. Since the age of five, he started playing football and baseball in the Richmond Hill Rec Department. Four years ago, Steptoe said he started to look at golf more seriously after taking the top prize in a local tournament that he entered just for fun. It was soon thereafter that he shifted his sporting goals.
"He just came to me one day and said ‘I want to give up football and baseball and concentrate just on golf,’" his father Ric Steptoe said. "He was a pretty good baseball and football player, but I told him I’d support him in whatever he decides to do. It ended up being a good decision because his game has improved tremendously over the past few years."
When he’s not playing or practicing, Steptoe is going to work at Waterford Landing golf course – where he has been employed for the last three years.
Steptoe said it is his dream to become a professional golfer, but he will settle for a career that somehow involves golf. His immediate plans are to begin playing collegiate golf. Going into his senior year, he has already received interest from Savannah State and two colleges up north.
For a photographic history of all past winners of the Bryan County Athlete of the Month award, click here: http://community.bryancountynews.net/gallery/detail/67/