ELI WALKER CAMPBELL’S GOT NEXT.
Just a year after older brother and current Oklahoma Sooner redshirt freshman, Steven Jr. graduated Fort Bend Christian Academy as a TAPPS 5A State Champion and set the TAPPS scoring record (131) in the process, Eli Walker is already leaving his own mark as an Eagle.
Not only did FBCA win four of five tournaments to start the season, but Campbell, a freshman, was the individual champion in three of those.
“It’s been great,” Campbell said. “I think I’ve played pretty well. It’s different playing on a team. Typically, golf is an individual sport, but it’s great playing on a team and it prepares me for college golf. I get to be a part of the guys and I get to represent my school.”
Golf has always been his M.O.
Campbell picked up his first club when he was 2 years old. He played his first tournament when he was 5. The freshman’s strength is his long game. He has impressive accuracy and drives the ball 305 yards, on average, off the tee.
His favorite course is Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. He admires Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and, of course, Tiger.
Campbell admits there are great expectations thanks to Stephen, a two-time first-team, all-state selection and three-time all-regional selection as an Eagle.
“I have to fill his shoes, basically,” said Campbell, who had Stephen caddie for him in the US Kids World Championships four years ago in North Carolina because Stephen knew the Pinehurst No. 8 course “inside and out”.
“But I view it as a goal to beat. I don’t view it as real pressure. It’s kind of like Eli Manning and Peyton Manning. Eli was the younger brother who always tried to live up to Peyton.”
Campbell, 15, spoke more with VYPE.
VYPE: How have you improved as a player throughout this season?
CAMPBELL: High school golf helps me work on patience compared to my regular normal tournaments I play in. High school tournaments can take a long time, whereas other tournaments are a lot shorter in time. So, I’m a lot more patient player.
VYPE: What was the dynamic like between you and Stephen growing up around the game?
CAMPBELL: It was great. He’s taught me a lot of things, especially about the recruiting process. He gives me a lot of encouragement. When we practice together, it gets heated. We argue a lot. I try and beat his butt, basically.
VYPE: What have you learned about the recruiting process by watching Stephen?
CAMPBELL: I learn what coaches like and don’t like, and how to act and how to talk to them. I was able to go on a lot of his recruiting trips. I’m able to see what they look for in players and what I can work on or need to do.
VYPE: Your dream school is Oklahoma, and you want to join your brother playing there. What do you think you have to do to accomplish that?
CAMPBELL: My course management can get better, making smarter decisions on the course. Not trying to go for a lot of shots; maybe just try to lay up or get par on a tough hole, instead of hoping you can get birdie and it cost you.