The Cartersville 14-year-old, now the Atlanta Junior Golf Team's Player of the Year in the 9-hole Open Boys 13 and Over Division, said he felt good about his chances when assessing them in the 20-minute wait before he and Robert Golden of Alpharetta would begin.
"I thought it was a good thing to play immediately because I was hot and that was the best (score) I'd ever shot," he said, noting he fired a 37 that day, following a 43 the first day.
So how did all that confidence serve him when he teed off first in the playoff?
"I shanked it, snaked it right into the woods," he laughed. "I thought 'You've got to be kidding.'"
Meanwhile, Golden put his ball right down the middle, essentially a perfect position from which to win. But the direct shot isn't always the surest one as Hopkins' competitor didn't sink his ball until the sixth shot.
As for Hopkins, he searched the woods for his ball and discovered there was no straight line from it to his hole -- a tree was in its path. He then aimed it at a rough area as close as possible to the hole.
The Cartersville golfer said he quietly realized he had an extra shot to sink the putt.
"I felt no pressure then," he said, "and I just putted it in."
Matt Hooper, executive director of the AJGT, which conducted the Callaway Gardens tournament, said the victory enabled Hopkins to win the AJGT's Player of the Year in the 9-hole Open Boys 13 and Over Division.
Hopkins qualified to compete at Callaway by winning four tournaments over the summer and by placing fifth in another. The son of Seth and Kelly Hopkins of Cartersville, he claimed his titles at the Arrowhead Country Club, The Lion Golf Club, the Cartersville Country Club and the Golf Club at Bradshaw Farms.
The qualifiers then competed in the 9 Hole Classic, a two-day tournament at Callaway Gardens featuring the division's top players.
"He then competed against the top 18 in division play in the 9-hole classic, which he won," Hopper said.
The state golfing official said there are a total of 1,150 members of the association. Hopkins accumulated 119 points in his division, out of a possible 120.
"He had a good year," Hopper said.
The golfing official said the competition didn't exactly get easier when Hopkins competed in the 9-hole classic, which brought in other tournament winners from around the state.
"He won on the first playoff hole," Hopper said. "He made a par coming out of the woods. Talk about playing under pressure."
Hopkins said the youths, ages 7 to 18, are participating in an AJGT program intended to provide golf to them around the state.
"The golf courses donate the facilities and we run the event at an affordable rate for the junior golfers," he said. "They practice and play on their own, then come to us for tournament opportunities."
Hopkins said he participates because he likes golf.
"I like being out in nature," he said. "It's calming, relaxing and fun, too."