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Heritage golfer says aloha
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Heritage golf coach Mike Swords says Hunter Elliot lives eats and breathes golf.

If anyone needs evidence of that check out his room and ask what the extra mattress is for. Or ask his father why they had to replace a window in their Honey Creek house when his youngest son was about 11 years old.

Or better yet ask the travel agent who just booked his trip to Kauai, Hawaii, the first week of October for a golf tournament.

If all that fails, find him right after school - there's at least a 90 percent chance that the Heritage High School junior is at Cherokee Run Golf Course.

Elliot, a member of the Patriots' golf team, leaves school every day and then heads for Cherokee Run at around 1:30. Once there he hits the links to work on his drives, chip-ins and putts until it's time to go to work.

From there he leaves the greens and enters the pro shop where he works until going home to finish up homework and again work on his game.

At home he will hit the ball around his yard, or flip up an extra mattress in his room, grab hold of his club of choice and start hitting balls into it.

"The coach last year was telling us about him," said Swords, in his first year as Heritage's golf coach. "He really just lives it. He spends a good amount of time around the putting greens with his short game and chipping and stuff."

With the high school season not set to start until the spring, Elliot has been playing with Atlanta Junior Golf, sort of a travel-ball type team if golf was baseball.

Atlanta Junior Golf, which boasts professional alumni such as Bob Tway, Davis Love III and Chris Kirk, plays tournaments throughout the year with golfers the metro area.

One tournament was in Canton, where in a 36-hole competition Elliott placed in the top four, earning him the chance to play in a matchup pitting Atlanta against Kauai on Oct. 8 and 9.

"It should be awesome to go to Hawaii," Elliot said.

The first day of the event will be a best ball and ultimate shot tournament with both teams participating, and the second day will be singles matches, setting up Elliot against a player from the Kauai team.

The competition aspect will be nothing new for Elliot who has competed for Atlanta Junior Golf in places such as Augusta and St. Simons, and also has started for the Heritage golf team.

In his first year with the Patriots last year, Elliot won one tournament, and his closest teammate and longest competitor won first in the other.

That teammate was none other than his brother, Harrison.

"He's learned a lot from his brother and has kind of taken over Harrison's role this year," Swords said.

However, if you ask Tyler who is better - he or his older brother, and you won't get an answer other than Harrison would be the better player because he's older. That's the way Tyler is, quiet off the course and determined on it.

"He's humble about it," Swords said. "That's just how he is; he's not going to brag about himself." He's a perfectionist."