In the heat of the summer, Spalding High’s steadiest golfer the past three seasons, Henry Mabbett Jr., committed last month to attend and play golf for Georgia Southern beginning in the fall of 2011.
“Their practice facilities, more than anything else, is what sold me on them,” Mabbett said of the state-of-the-art facilities. “That and the fact I know several of the guys from playing junior golf.”
Mabbett, who also received offers from Valdosta State and Georgia College, also took recruiting trips to North Carolina, Ole Miss, Augusta State and Western Carolina.
With a year of high school golf yet to play, the rising senior has already amassed a strong resume. As a freshman he shot a 71 to finish co-state runner-up at the GHSA Class AAA state championships in 2008 before firing a 69 to finish co-state champion in 2009.
This past season, Mabbett shot a team-low, 1-under 71 to finish tied for sixth in the individual standings as the Jaguars fired their lowest score (303) ever at state to place tied for fourth in May at the Maple Ridge Golf Club in Columbus.
Along the way, the lefty, who stands 6-foot-4, has also shot a 70 to win the region championship in 2008 and a 72 to win the region championship this spring. In-between, he carded a 78 to finish region runner-up in 2009. He was also a part of the Spalding High golf team that shot a school-record 294 this past season, carding a 73 that day.
Mabbett has also been a standout in junior golf tournaments throughout the state and the southeast this summer, shooting 75-65-76—216 to finish tied for ninth at the Georgia Junior Championships — where his 65 was low round for the tournament — in June at the Green Island Country Club in Columbus, and shooting a 70-72-68—210 to finish regulation tied for first in an AJGA event at the Country Club at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio before losing out in a four-way playoff.
He was second at the Georgia Junior until losing a ball in a tree on No. 15 in the final round and taking a triple bogey.
“When I got up there a bunch of people were standing around the tree,” he said. “They said they heard it rattle around, but never saw it come down. I thought that was odd.”
What isn’t odd is the way Mabbett kept his composure and tied for ninth. That impressed the Michigan golf coach and several other coaches in attendance, said Mabbett’s dad, Henry Mabbett Sr.