Jackson takes 2021 by storm

Jackson takes 2021 by storm

Not only did Cumberland native and La Salle Academy sophomore-to-be Max Jackson win the RIIL individual championship after Memorial Day weekend at Cranston Country Club, but he also captured the World Series of Junior Golf earlier this month at the Triggs Memorial Golf Course.
Cumberland resident, La Salle sophomore-to-be captures RIIL individual championship, World Series of Junior Golf

CUMBERLAND – For Cumberland native and La Salle Academy sophomore-to-be Max Jackson, golf has been a constant throughout his young life.

Less than two months ago, the 15-year-old standout became the first freshman since 2014 to win the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s individual state championship, as he shot a two-day total of 140 at Cranston Country Club that was not only two-under par, but also topped the runner-up finisher, Burrillville High senior Jacob Trimble, by seven shots.

And on the eve of the Fourth of July weekend, Jackson won the two-day World Series of Junior Golf at Triggs Memorial Golf Course by shooting a two-day total of 142 that included his three-under 69 on the opening day of competition and saw him claim the title by only one stroke over Joe Lenane of Dedham, Mass.

Jackson comes from a family that cherishes the sport. He said as he was growing up, he remembered both sets of his grandparents playing, as well as his father, Greg Jackson, who Jackson said has been his coach his whole life. Greg played in high school, picking the sport up late in life as a junior year, and he passed on the love of the game to his son.

After seeing what La Salle Academy’s golf program had to offer, Jackson was sold on it being the right place to attend high school. He said he also plays soccer as well.

As a freshman, Jackson helped the Rams win the West Division regular-season title and return to the state tournament. He knew a handful of players to watch out for, but he also wanted to do what he could to help the third-place Rams compete with the eventual team champion, Bishop Hendricken, and second-place East Greenwich.

“I knew some of the kids playing in it and I knew the competition,” Jackson noted. “I was a little surprised to win (the individual title) as a freshman, but I stuck to my game and I didn’t think of how (the opponents) were older. I just focused on what I could control.”

Jackson also competed at the Rhode Island Amateurs last week at Kirkbrae Country Club and shot a one-under 71 on the opening day and a 72 on the second to earn the 11th seed in match play, but he lost his Round of 32 battle to Jordan Amorin of Crestwood Country Club.

Jackson said he played in it last year and made it to match play, only to lose in his first match, and before this year’s tournament, he said, “I just want to do better than last year. I would love to reach the quarters or semifinals.”

Jackson, who is expected to play in next week’s R.I. Stroke Play Championship at Alpine Country Club, also has his sights set on competing in the R.I. Junior Amateurs. He said he might do the Northern Junior Championships in Connecticut and the Gately Cup, as part of the U.S. Challenge Cup. There are one to two tournaments a week, so Jackson does not have much down time.

During his free time, “I caddie at Pawtucket Country Club, my home course,” he said. “I usually caddie with one of my friends. We have a good time doing it.”

Jackson will continue to work on his craft this summer to build on his early success. He said that during his time at La Salle, he hopes he can go 4-for-4 at the RIIL individual championships, just like what Moses Brown’s Will Dickson did in the mid-2010s, “and I want to try to win the Rhode Island Junior and Men’s Amateurs in the same year,” he said. “That would be pretty cool.”

At the same time, Jackson does not want to look too far ahead into the future, and he just wants to see how he progresses from tournament to tournament. He highlighted his family, his high school coach, and teammates, as well as his friends, for being there for him.

“A lot of people have helped,” he said.