Gator senior has been involved in numerous community service, charitable activities
| Florida Times-Union
Lauren Waidner of Fleming Island received a prestigious honor in golf this week, and it had a lot more significance than making birdies.
The University of Florida senior was named the recipient of the 2020 Tom Cousins Award, presented annually by the East Lake Foundation in Atlanta to a male and female player “who epitomizes the standards of the East Lake Foundation, both excelling academically and demonstrating extreme engagement in his or her community.”
Cousins established the East Lake Foundation 20 years ago along with the redevelopment of the area around the historic East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, which Bob Jones considered his home course. It is the site for the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Championship. The foundation has been dedicated to helping families rebuild and children reach their highest potential.
Waidner, the first Florida women’s golfer to receive this award, has a long list of community activities and charity work. Before she entered Florida she was a member of the American Junior Golf Association Leadership Links Program and raised money for Reach Out and Read. As a student-athlete at UF, she is a member of Streetlight, a program that mentors and supports critically-ill adolescents, helped to organize a Climb for Cancer event, and works with the Florida Student-Athlete Advisory Committee visiting local schools and packaging shoes for underprivileged children.
Waidner is a two-time member of the SEC Community Service Team and a WGCA All-American Scholar. She was named to the most recent All-SEC academic team.
She also worked at UF Health Shands in the summer of 2019 on an internship and visits infirmed children and teens on a weekly basis.
“The game of golf is no longer just a game for me,” Waidner said in a statement. “But rather an outlet through which I can find new ways to help others.”
The Fleming Island High graduate was a four-time Times-Union All-First Coast player, the First Coast MVP in 2014 and was a member of the T-U’s All-Decade team. She was a three-time MVP at Fleming Island.
First Coast Amateur
The Jacksonville Area Golf Association has opened registration for the 2021 First Coast Amateur, Jan. 16-18 at The Conservatory at Hammock Beach in Palm Coast.
The tournament has attracted some of the top college and amateur players in the nation, with Purdue’s Cole Bradley the defending champion. Last year players in the field represented 22 states, five countries and 29 colleges and universities.
The field was increased to 96 and it filled a month after registration opened. The alternates list eventually grew to 36.
The tournament is open to male players with a verified USGA index of 3.0 or better, and has reached the age of 16 by Jan. 16, 2021. Registration can be done online by visiting jaxareagolf.com.
World Amateur Golf Rankings points will be given to the top finishers.
APGA returns to WGC
The Advocates Pro Golf Tour will make a stop at the World Golf Hall of Fame Slammer & Squire course on March 21-23. Julian Suri won last year’s tournament at the King & Bear.
The APGA is a developmental tour that promotes diversity in the sport and has received backing from the PGA Tour. It will play 14 events in 2021 and is offering more than $300,000 in prize money.
The Tour has made TPC courses available to the members of the APGA and also has offered instruction and recently unveiled the APGA college ranking.
Nicholson wins at UF
Sam Nicholson of Atlantic Beach, a freshman at the University of South Florida, shot 64 in the first round and went on to win a Florida State Golf Association Fall Elite Series tournament at the Univerity of Florida’s Mark Bostick Golf Course.
Nicholson finished at 11-under-par 199 to beat Joe Sullivan by two shots. Michael Sakane of Jacksonville University, who matched Nicholson’s 64 in the first round, faded with a 71 in the second and finished fourth at 2-under.
Nicholson made eight birdies in the first round, including five of his first six on the back nine.
Schroeder forces playoff
Kaitlyn Schroeder of Jacksonville birdied the 18th hole at the Seminole Legacy Golf Course to get into a playoff with Brooke Rivers of Canada, then lost to Rivers in sudden death in the American Junior Golf Association Visit Tallahassee Junior Championship. Schroeder and Rivers finished at 4-under 140. It was Schroeder’s third finish of first or second on the AJGA and she has risen to 14th on the AJGA Rolex Rankings. … The Jacksonville Area Golf Association has canceled the 2021 Celebration of Golf banquet scheduled for February because of the COVID-19 pandemic.