Edward Little graduate, Aaron Perkins, chips a ball onto the green at Fox Ridge Golf Club on Monday morning. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Recent Edward Little graduate Aaron Perkin had an outstanding high school golf career. He helped the Red Eddies reach back-to-back Class A team state championship appearances and appeared in the 2017 Class A individual state tournament.

Husson University in Bangor, one of the premier Division III schools in Maine for golf, with 14 North Atlantic Conference championships and 12 NCAA tournament appearances, took notice of Perkins. And he was all set to join the Eagles program and study sports managements.

Then Perkins had a change of heart. No, he didn’t lose his love for the game. The opposite in fact.

He instead has decided to take a gap year to work on his game and look for a college golf program, particularly in the southeastern United States, where he can work towards becoming a PGA Professional, whether it’s as a player or coach.

“It was pretty difficult. It was something I wanted to do before I chose to go to Husson,” Perkins said of playing college golf in the South. “Husson, I was really excited to go to, but (in) the Southeast, I have my grandparents who live in Florida, so, it wasn’t too big of a decision, but it shouldn’t be too tough of a transition with family in the area.”

Perkins said that Husson coach Mike Dugas understood and respected Perkins decision.

Perkins also applied and was accepted to Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which has a strong PGA Golf Management University Program that was attended by local golf professional Randy Doucette and TJ Anthoine.

“All throughout high school, I really had interest in the PGM program, which put me in a PGA pro role,” Perkins said. “But, over the last year or two, that’s when I have really taken interest and that’s when I really looked into Methodist. I chose not to go there, either, because I wanted to wait one more year. “

Methodist, along with other schools in the Carolinas, is still a school on Perkins’ radar for the fall of 2020, but he’s most focused on schools in Florida, especially in the Orlando and Jacksonville areas.

BUCKLING DOWN

With his mind made up to go south for school and golf, Perkins’ focus has turned improving his game.

That started this summer. He has played in six Maine State Golf Association weekly junior events, and won at Bath Country Club on July 18 by shooting a 74. He placed in the top 10 in all six events, including a seventh-place finish at the MSGA Maine Junior Amateur at Val Halla on July 30-31.

In the seven rounds at junior events, he has a scoring average of 78.57.

“I started setting goals the last couple of weeks and that has helped me shoot these low rounds,” Perkins said.

Perkins said he has put a lot of focus on his approach shots the past month, which has played a role in his lower scores this summer. He also wants to improve his tee shots.

When the leaves fall off the trees and the snow starts to hit the ground, Perkins will look at indoor facilities to keep his swing in rhythm. He also wants to add to his 6-foot, 175-pound frame.

“I will obviously get in the gym, build up some mass for next year, gain some muscle,” Perkins said. “Hopefully, I can gain some distance over the winter. I might try to make a trip down south this winter to visit my grandparents. If not, I will keep working inside and try to keep the swing in good shape.”

FAST RESULTS

While he still has improving to do, the work he has put in has already paid off, and forced him to change his tournament plans for August.

Perkins was set to play in the MSGA’s B and C Championship at Brunswick Golf Club, a tournament designed for golfers with handicap indexes of 6.6 and above, that was held this past week. However, his scores of 80 and 75 at the Junior Amateur lowered his handicap to 6.1, making him ineligible for the tournament.

Instead, he received an invitation to play in the Charlie’s Maine Open on Aug. 20-21 at Augusta Country Club. It will be the first non-junior tournament he has entered.

“I was going to play (in the B and C Championship), and I realized I was going to be close if I shot well at the (Junior) championship,” Perkins said. “I went out and really shot really well at the Junior championship. So, I became ineligible for one, and (the MSGA) invited me to the other.”

The day before the Junior Amateur, Perkins competed in a weekly junior tournament at Augusta Country Club. He finished second, shooting 74.

“I am super excited. I am psyched to play with the some of the top players in Maine and even in New England,” Perkins said. “I am hoping to make the cut and shoot a couple of good rounds at Augusta.”