The Southworth file
Parents: John and Sheri.
Siblings: Jessica Hotchkiss and Clay Southworth.
Future college: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
Favorite food: Pizza rolls. “They’re like the worst thing to eat but it’s pizza…in a roll.”
Favorite bands: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, CAKE, Flobots
Favorite subject: Art
By Josh Grant, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT — A typical day for the average 15-year-old student consists of Snapchat streaks, how many Instagram likes he or she received that day, beating their friend at the new pool game as part of the most recent iOS update, and “maybe” mixing in a few minutes of homework before bed.
For North Port’s Meadow Southworth, she must fit all the above in, and much more.
As a sophomore at Island Village Montessori in Venice, a typical day for Southworth goes like this: Go to school, straight to the driving range or golf course after school, home to finish her 1-2 hours of homework at night, try and be a normal functioning teenager, sleep for a few hours and get up the next day to do it all again.
On the weekends, Southworth can be found working on figuring out the six-inch break on the putting green or seeing how far she can stretch her 8-iron shots, all day long.
“She puts in so much work in during the season and offseason,” North Port coach Mike Endee said. “When we’re done practicing, she stays and continues to practice.”
How many kids these days can say that they can dominate in the classroom and on the golf course, while remaining a humble, grounded, family-oriented kid?
Meadow Southworth, the Charlotte Sun’s All-Area girls golfer of the year, that’s who.
“Her absolute favorite thing is golf,” mother Sherri Southworth said. “We threw a whole bunch of things at her when she was younger — piano, basketball, dance, etc. — but she slowly started weening those things out. She made a choice and she loves it.”
Southworth dominated her competition in 2016, en route to being area’s only individual to advance to the regional tournament, where she shot an 83 at a place where the undulating greens are quite familiar to her — Capri Isles Golf Club in Venice.
Low scores and individual goals aside, Southworth’s greatest asset is her ability to lead, which is rare in players at such a young age.
“She can come look at a swing and coach the girls up better than I can,” Endee said. “I’ve never had the amount of lessons she’s had, nor can I play the game as well as she can.”
However, it hasn’t always been birdies and eagles for Southworth. At just 15, the ability to fight back against adverse conditions isn’t always fully developed. She has had some tough times on the links, but always finds a way to continue to improve.
“A few months ago, I was playing at my favorite course, Sara Bay Country Club in Sarasota,” the player said. “The first day of the tournament I shot 79. The next day, I was pumped and ready to go. The first couple of holes were all right, but out of nowhere, I started topping the ball. As they day went on, the topping got worse.
“Afterwards, I was mad that I did so poorly after my low score the day before, so I went to the range. When my parents and I were in the parking lot, I looked at them and said, ‘79 the first day, cried in the parking lot on the second.’”
For the Southworth family, it’s not easy to maneuver around Meadow’s schedule, especially for her father, John, whom is often away on business as a civilian contractor. But, no matter what the circumstance, no matter the issue, no matter the distance, both her parents are there to make sure that their daughter has the love and support to continue pursuing her dream.
“We’re all full board ahead with her dream,” her mother said. “We’re a working-class family and golf isn’t cheap, but we make it work. We’re committed.”
For Southworth and her family, golf is a way of life. And although she is just 15, she has a message for younger golfers who are looking to begin her labor of love.
“You know Jason Day, the number one player in the world? He grew up poor and look at where he is now,” Southworth said. “I don’t think you need a lot of money. You just need the love for the game.”
She has that love for the game in spades … Or, in eagles.
CHRISTAIN CHANDLER, Lemon Bay, Freshman
Had an outstanding freshman year, averaging 49.8 over nine holes. Her 98 at the county championships was good enough for fifth place.
HYASHA CRUMPTON, Lemon Bay, Junior
Was one of the top golfers in the area as a junior, with a 44.8 nine-hole average. She finished in third place in both the Charlotte County championships and districts.
BECKY DAVIS, Charlotte, Sophomore
Followed up a stellar freshman year with another great year her second season. Averaged a 41 over nine holes, and won the Charlotte County championship where she shot an 82 over 18 holes.
LAREN FENDER, Charlotte, Junior
An all-area selection for the third straight year with a 42 average on the season. She also was the No. 2 golfer at the County championship behind teammate Davis.
HANNAH MADISON, Port Charlotte, Senior
Was consistently the top golfer for the Pirates this season. Madison averaged a 53 on the year over nine holes.
DELANEY MCBEE, Charlotte, Freshman
A strong start to her first year led to a 52 average over nine holes. Her best nine-hole day came against Venice when she shot 47.
Honorable mention: Lemon Bay: Sarah Bedford, Kayla Faircloth, Alaine Schofield; Port Charlotte: Shaelyn Taylor; Charlotte: Marissa Nash, Madison Wiley, North Port: Maggie Brown.
Team compiled by Sports Writer Bryan Levine