Residence: Peachtree Corners, GA
High School: Rivers Academy
College Commitment: University of Georgia
WAGR® 18-and-under Ranking: No. 22 (as of 7/7)
Accomplishments: 2021 Wyndham Invitational Champion. 2021 Terra Cotta Invitational Runner-up. 2021 Dustin Johnson World Junior Championship Runner-up. 2020 Rolex Junior All-American. 2019 Jones Cup Junior Invitational Champion.
2021 has treated Maxwell Ford well. He has finished in the top five in all but two events this year and, most recently, won the Wyndham Invitational at Sedgefield Country Club, where he tallied 12 birdies and two eagles to shoot 7-under-par 273. The University of Georgia signee fired rounds of 70-68-69-66 to finish five strokes clear of the field.
The timing could not come at a better time for Maxwell as he prepares for what will be the last tournament of his junior career. With his impressive year of top finishes and recent experience in match play, he feels that he could be the 73rd U.S. Junior Amateur Champion.
How do you feel about your golf game as of late?
“In 2021, I’ve been playing really, really well. It all flipped during around last December. After that, I haven’t played a bad tournament. I feel like I’m definitely one of the best juniors in the country right now.
What’s your relationship like with your twin brother, David?*
“We’ve always been really competitive which at times has made us not like each other so much, at least on the golf course. But I think that’s pretty natural just with how competitive we are and how much we are compared by other people. Besides the Wyndham Cup, it will be the first tournament we’ve played together since early February, which will make it a little different. Maybe we can meet each other in match play at some point… that would be pretty cool.”
How have you been preparing for the U.S. Junior Amateur?
“I haven’t been playing a ton because my back started bothering me at a tournament a week after my win at Sedgefield in June. I rested it for about a week and then played in the Wyndham Cup. I played okay, but my back felt really good, which was the main thing. I can tell my game’s really close. I’m hitting some shots that are really good, I’m just hitting some that feel a little rusty. I’ll play a good bit of golf between now and July 17 when we leave for the Junior Amateur and see if I can get back some of the feelings and get my swing dialed in. I’m really pumped for Pinehurst.
How do you think your past experience has prepared you for the U.S. Junior Amateur?
“I’ve played two U.S. Amateurs before so I know what it’s like at a USGA event where you’re trying to make match play through two rounds of stroke play. I think that experience will help me a lot. I’ve played a lot of match play recently, including my last two events, which I think will help me a ton. Before that, I hadn’t played match play at all in a tournament. I think the biggest thing is just doing what I do and keep plugging along no matter what. I’m going to take it one step at a time.
What do you know about CCNC?
“I’ve been a couple of times to play with Jackson Van Paris. It’s two courses that definitely set up well for me. The greens are similar to my home course because they’re so fast. I’ve played at Pinehurst a good bit in the heat, and it was also really hot at Sedgefield the week I won, so I feel like the weather will be ideal for me. The California and northern guys might not have as much experience in that type of weather. It’s all setting up well for me, it’s just a matter of how good my golf’s going to be.”
What would it mean for you to be the U.S. Junior Amateur Champion?
“It would be unreal. We have a long way to go before we get there, but it would definitely be a great way to end my junior career. I would feel like I’m on top of the world.”
*Maxwell’s identical twin, David, is also competing in the U.S. Junior Amateur.
By Taft Gantt