By Brady Fredericksen
Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 8:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 8:11 p.m.
LAKELAND | Keith Albritton was recruited by a handful of schools while he was at Lakeland High.
A standout golfer for the Dreadnaughts, a young Albritton entertained those offers from other schools, but deep down he always knew he wanted to go to the University of Florida — so he did.
That ended up being a pretty good decision as he helped lead the Gators to a pair of SEC titles and a runner-up finish at the 1991 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships from 1987-91. It didn’t hurt that he met his future wife, Payton, in Gainesville, too.
“Don’t tell any of those other coaches I had no intention of going to their schools,” said Albritton, who is now the CEO at Allen and Company in Lakeland. “I had a goal to be at the University of Florida.”
Albritton was honored as the Billy Chase Jr. Memorial Captain’s Award at the Polk County Gator Club’s 2014 Kick-Off Party at the Lake Mirror Center on Wednesday. The ex-Dreadnaught is the 15th honoree.
“There’s something special about being a Gator athlete; what it means to get there to that level, to compete and have the success we had as a team,” Albritton said.
Though Florida won the national title the year after he graduated, Albritton put together a successful career at the school while teaming up and rooming with current PGA pro Chris DiMarco.
“Part of this spirit of this award, you not only have to be in good character, demonstrate above-average athletic contributions to the University of Florida, but you also have to be a contributor to the community,” said Bill Chase. “Keith filled that in spades.”
After his successful run at the school, Albritton continued his career professionally in South America and Canada. His caddie during the early portions of that time was his wife, with whom he now has four children.
“Without her I’m not here,” he said. “She caddied for me when I turned pro for three years. She’s 5 feet tall; I can remember hauling her up the side of a mountain in Missouri in 100-degree heat just trying to finish.
“She let me take golf clubs to my honeymoon for Pete’s sake.”