Remi Chartier proudly donned his East Tennessee State University sweater for Wednesday's college signing ceremony at Gulf Coast High School. GREGG HARDY/CSI
Fifteen months ago, Remi Chartier and his family moved to Naples from Montreal hoping to further his chances at landing a Division I golf scholarship.
In those 15 months, he’s become a state champion (and nearly a two-time state champion) who’s demonstrated an ability to not only play well, but to thrive in pressure-packed situations.
On Wednesday, Chartier achieved his goal. He signed his national letter of intent to play next fall for East Tennessee State University.
“It was pretty huge actually,” Chartier said about his family’s decision to head south for more than just the winter. “… I had golf game before coming to Florida, but it certainly gave me the exposure that was not needed but was good to have. And being up in Canada, maybe it wouldn’t have happened.”
Chartier was a huge part of Gulf Coast’s 2017 team that won the Class 3A championship — the first boys state title in Collier County history — by a single shot. With his team trailing by six shots after Day 1 and little to no margin for error in the final round, Chartier carded an even-par 72 on Mission Inn Resort & Club’s El Campeon course.
A few weeks ago, Chartier and the Sharks fell a little short in their bid to repeat as state champs. They finished five shots back of Winter Park, good enough for second place. Chartier, who posted a two-round total of 142 (70-72) and finished third in the individual competition, was one of only three players to finish under par in a field of 95 players.
At the start of this season, Gulf Coast coach Kim Benedict touted Chartier’s senior leadership, as well as his ability to steadily post scores that she and his teammates could depend on.
“He cares about his individual game,” Benedict said, “but he really cares about the team game and really cares about the other boys and really wants to do well as a team. He’s a great leader, and that steady presence is really nice.”
After Wednesday’s ceremony (which included several other Gulf Coast High School student-athletes signing their national letters of intent), Chartier talked about his time at Gulf Coast and his decision to play for ETSU.
Fate smiled on Chartier and the Sharks when he moved to Naples two summers ago.
While golf is most definitely an individual sport, it’s in high school and college where a heavy premium is placed on teamwork. Chartier admitted that he landed in a great spot playing for a talented Sharks squad under Benedict’s guidance.
“If I was part of a team that wasn’t as good or wasn’t as motivated, I would’ve kept pushing but it wouldn’t have been the same,” Chartier said. “(I was) just lucky enough to have guys that are pretty dedicated off the season and, you know, to work hard.
“Coach (Benedict) is an awesome coach. … She’s really great, and we worked well together.”
Asked if there was a single shot in his Gulf Coast career that stood out in his memory, Chartier needed little time to answer.
It was the final swing of his 2017 season — his fourth shot on the 18th hole at El Campeon with the Sharks in an all-out battle for a state championship.
After sending his tee shot into the water and re-teeing, Chartier conferred with Benedict before hitting a gap wedge “pretty tight” from 116 yards out.
“I called it,” Chartier said. “I was like, ‘Be good.’”
He made the subsequent 5- to 6-foot putt to close out his brilliant round and put the Sharks in position to capture the title.
Chartier said he was “really close” to getting into the recruiting process with the University of Louisville back in March. However, the Cardinals’ assistant coach he had been speaking to left for Wake Forest, and Chartier said that “changed the whole recruiting process” (with Louisville).
Soon thereafter, Chartier began to talk with ETSU, which is located in Johnson City, Tenn. He said the Buccaneers program is “similar” to Louisville “in a lot of ways.”
“It was a good blessing in disguise that it worked out,” said Chartier, proudly sporting a ETSU sweater during Wednesday’s signing ceremony. “… It worked out really well. I’m kind of glad the switch was made there.”
Follow CSI on Twitter at @239CSI or like CSI on Facebook at facebook.com/CollierSportsInsider. Email Gregg Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org.