R,J, Keur began his golfing career as a right-hander, smacking a plastic ball around the house with a plastic set of clubs as a 4-year-old.
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But when R.J. was a little older and began playing with his father on the course at Charleston Air Force Base, he had trouble getting the ball over a bothersome water hazard.
"Let's try this," his dad said, turning R.J. around and handing him a left-handed club.
"He saw how much better I hit it left-handed, and got me a set of lefty clubs," R.J. recalled.
The rest, as they say, is history. Swinging left-handed, Keur has become one of the top junior golfers in South Carolina, finishing third in the Class AAAA high school state tournament this year and earning The Post and Courier's All-Lowcountry golfer of the year award. Keur, who just graduated from Fort Dorchester High School, will continue his career in the fall at Charleston Southern as one of the highest-profile recruits the Bucs have recruited.
"R.J. is the highest-ranked player that we have ever signed at Charleston Southern," Bucs director of golf Mike Wilson said when Keur signed. "He comes from one of the top high school programs in the state. R.J. will have the opportunity to be an impact player right away. He is very solid from tee to green and knows how to compete at the highest level."
Keur learned how to play at the side of his father, who retired from the Air Force and is now a police officer, and honed his game with countless hours at the Air Force Base course.
"When I was in middle school and high school, I'd be at the course from 7 a.m. until my parents picked me up after work," he said. "On Saturdays and Sundays, my dad and I would play in the morning. He's a good player and passed his test to be a PGA pro, but he wanted to focus his attention on me."
That work has paid off during Keur's career at Fort Dorchester. Currently ranked sixth in the state among junior boys, Keur finished third in the state tournament each of the last two years, and was the only Lowcountry player in the top 15 this year. As a freshman, he helped Fort Dorchester to its first state championship in golf. Last summer, he won the Al Esposito Junior championship and finished fifth in the S.C. State junior.
For college, Keur had offers from several bigger schools, but in the end chose CSU over two other state colleges.
"I know some of their players from high school golf and have played and practiced with them," he said. "I'm really excited to play with them next year."
Keur is joined on the All-Lowcountry golf team by a quartet of players from Bishop England, which won the Class AA state title under All-Lowcountry coach of the year John Greavu. Sophomore Jamie Wilson won the AA state individual title, winning a four-way playoff with a birdie on the first playoff hole. BE teammates Wilson Yearout, Todd Fanning and Ben Burton also made Class AA all-state and join Wilson on the All-Lowcountry team.
The rest of the All-Lowcountry squad includes Kyle Spencer and Victor Harper of Wando; Austin Zoller and Zak Butt of Ashley Ridge; Lucas McNellis of James Island; Chris DeMarco of Palmetto Christian; Will Friedman of Porter-Gaud; Reona Hirai of Pinewood Prep; and Evan Rodwell from First Baptist.
The All-Lowcountry team is chosen using results from state tournaments, all-state and all-region teams and in consultation with high school coaches.