St. Augustine Prep High School freshman Drue Nicholas golfed like a senior this week.

Nicholas shot a 75 at the par-71 Galloway National Golf Club to top the 68-member field of the seventh annual Galloway Challenge on Tuesday.

“Drue is such a great all around player,” Hermits coach Len Dolson said. “He proved that here. He shot a 75 without a single birdie and a couple of bogeys. That really proved his maturity as a player to keep his composure and stay level headed.

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“With that, he has great driving and a strong short game, the total package you need to be a successful golfer.”

Nicholas is just 14 and said he was relieved to already have a tournament win under his belt.

“Coming into this sport so young put me under a lot of pressure,” Nicholas said. “I’ve had high expectations for myself from day one, but to be able to get a win this soon at a course as tough as this one lifted a lot of that weight off of my shoulders and has given me a lot of confidence in myself and my team.”

He isn’t the only young player leading the Hermits scorecard this season. Nicholas is joined by sophomores Michael DeLong and Jonathan Prussel and freshman Jackson Putney to round out the top of the team.

On the windy Tuesday, Putney shot an 83, DeLong shot an 88, and Prussel shot a 92 for a team score of 338, placing the Hermits fifth in the team competition. The 17-team field included golf powerhouse schools such as Bergen Catholic, which earned the title with a team score of 318.

“This proves what we can do when we all play our best together,” Nicholas said. “To place so high in such a tough competition just shows that in the next few years we will really be able to accomplish big things as a team.”

Dolson agrees, but knows his young squad still has a lot to learn.

“I know there will be growing pains these kids need to experience,” Dolson said. “With that being said, they’re already improving, and I’m excited to see what they can do as we grow together as a team.”

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