John Ernest "Jay" Mundy IV is showing signs of maturity on and off the golf course these days.
He's grown a bit, his voice has gotten deeper and his golf game has improved.
It was just four years ago that Mundy, then a senior at Lakeside, won the 1999 Georgia High School Association Class AAAA individual and team titles. It's still a feat he's proud of since his dad, John, won the GHSA individual title at Waynesboro High School in the late-1950s.
"That was the one tournament I hadn't won that I really wanted to win," Mundy said.
As a senior at Auburn University, Mundy finally broke through on the collegiate ranks. He won his first event, the Palencia Invitational, March 3. Before a tie for 47th place at the Schenkel E-Z-GO Invitational Sunday, Mundy had finished no worse than 12th in five previous tournaments.
"Winning the Palencia took a lot of burden off my back," Mundy said. "It's always easier to win after you've won one tournament."
Mundy leads Auburn with a 71.82 stroke average and is ranked 19th in the nation in the latest Division I individual golf rankings according to Golfweek magazine. He has helped lead the Tigers to two tournament titles this spring and a No. 23 ranking in the latest Precept/Golf Coaches Association of America poll.
"He's on a real good run right now," Auburn coach Mike Griffin said. "I know he's got some exciting things in his mind. I just want him to play one tournament at a time."
Mundy missed his first two tournaments in the fall after injuring his back while lifting weights. While he was out, Auburn finished eighth and 16th. But Mundy said his absence wasn't the sole reason the team didn't play well.
"We always seem to play better in the spring than we do in the fall," he said. "Football season is real big at Auburn. I don't know if it's football season that gets to us."
As his team has improved, Mundy has watched his game progress. After posting seven sub-par rounds the past two seasons, Mundy has gotten eight this season.
"I guess it's been more consistency," Mundy said. "I've been hitting the ball a little straighter. My driving has really improved since last year."
Mundy's game should continue to improve this season as he plays three courses he's familiar with in his next four events. Auburn will play host to the Billy Hitchcock Intercollegiate from Friday to Sunday, and then the team will travel to Sea Island, Ga., for the SEC Championships, April 25-27. Then, the Tigers play host to the NCAA Regionals, May 15-17, at Auburn University Club.
"It's a course the more you play the more you get familiar with," Mundy said of the regional site. "It's definitely home-course advantage. There's a lot of local knowledge."
When his NCAA career concludes, Mundy, a business finance major, plans to stay busy this summer with amateur events. While graduation is a year away, school might take a back seat to the PGA Tour should he survive Q-School later this year.
"I've always wanted to play professionally my whole life," Mundy said. "I've always dreamed of being on the PGA Tour."