Spain Park’s Patrick Martin isn’t a fellow who enjoys talking about himself.
He’d much rather let his golf game serve as his voice.
And Martin, who is headed to Vanderbilt University this fall, used his golf game to speak more loudly than ever at the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 7A championships at Magnolia Grove Falls Course in Mobile in May.
After firing a three-under-par 68 on the difficult course on the first day, Martin followed that with a six-birdie, 12-par effort in the second round to shoot a sizzling six-under-par 65. His combined two-day total of 133 clinched the state low medalist championship by an astonishing seven strokes. Martin also tied an AHSAA record for best 36-hole total.
His game was so dominant that he missed only four fairways in the entire tournament and made only one bogey.
Characteristically, Martin saved his best efforts of the season for last. He shot rounds of 68 and 71 prior to the state championship tournament.
“It was a nice way to end my career at Spain Park,” Martin said. “This will give me confidence for the summer and fall.”
Martin had never seen the Magnolia Grove course before coming to Mobile the day before the tournament.
“My dad and I drove down on Sunday and took a look at the course,” he said. “That helped me be aware of any potential trouble areas.”
After shooting a 68 in the first round, Martin sensed the second round might be special.
“I was hitting the ball solidly,” he said. “So I felt pretty good going into the second round.”
Martin said that Magnolia Grove became one of his favorite courses.
“What I liked best was the fact that I played well there,” he said, laughing.
Winning the state individual championship capped an impressive season for Martin, who averaged a red-hot 71 in all his tournament rounds in 2015. As an underclassman, he helped Spain Park win three consecutive AHSAA team championships in 2012-14.
There’s an old bromide that says a golfer’s brain is 90 percent of the reason for success in the sport. If that’s the case, Martin certainly has the right stuff. And that success also earned him the honor of being named the 2014-15 Over the Mountain Boy Athlete of the Year.
Mountain Brook volleyball/basketball standout Sara Carr was named the 2014-15 Over the Mountain Girl Athlete of the Year.
Spain Park golf coach Brian Carter attributes Martin’s excellence to two old-school traits: hard work and attitude.
“Patrick is very deserving of this award. He’s a tireless worker on the golf course and is always looking to improve,” Carter said. “He doesn’t mind working to get better. Patrick has been part of our program for four years and was a great leader from the beginning.”
Carter praised Martin’s driving and putting skills but said his best asset may be between his ears.
“Patrick’s strongest suit is management of the course he’s playing,” Carter said. “He really studies the courses and is a smart golfer. He doesn’t make many mental mistakes.”
Carter said Martin showed his golf intelligence in the state tournament.
“Patrick used his three-woods and irons so effectively that he didn’t need to use his driver all the time as so many kids tend to do,” he said. “He plays his strengths to the course.”
Martin, who had already been named Boy Golfer of the Year by the Downtown Kiwanis Club, said the OTM Athlete of the Year honor was special.
“This means a lot, particularly when you stop to consider all the great athletes from all the sports in this area,” he said. “I’m proud to represent Spain Park and my teammates.”
Martin also received the Bradley Johnson Award as Spain Park’s top golfer.
Carter said Martin is just as impressive away from the golf course as he is on it.
“He’s just a real classy guy,” the coach said. “Patrick isn’t really interested in being in the limelight. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but when he does talk, what he says is important.”
Martin, who plays out of Riverchase Country Club, shot his best-ever round of 63 on his home course. He’s no slouch in the classroom either, graduating with a 3.99 grade point average.
“You can sum up Patrick’s career by saying he always did things the right way,” Carter said.
And doing things the right way made Patrick Martin the 2014-15 Over the Mountain Boy Athlete of the Year.