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McGowan achieves goal of reaching state golf tournament

Thursday, September 27, 2012

(Photo)
Shelbyville Central senior Amy Beth McGowan poses with Eaglette coach Kevin Thomas before her first round of the TSSAA State Golf Tournament.
(T-G Photo by Gary Johnson) [Order this photo]
MANCHESTER -- From time to time you come across someone who has the mindset to put adversity and setbacks behind them in order to achieve a goal.

Shelbyville Central golfer Amy Beth McGowan is one of those people.

Despite playing the entire season recovering from a shoulder injury, the motivated senior fought through the season with her goal of advancing to the TSSAA state tournament in the back of her mind.

Making history

Even though she battled through a number of obstacles, she persevered and became the first-ever Eaglette to compete in the state golf tournament.

"It wasn't easy and I played the entire season in pain. My shoulder would swell and I would ice it down after I played," McGowan said.

"I went to the doctor two days before the season started and he said I was about 75 percent but I was determined to tough it out and do the best I could despite my injury."

She injured her shoulder swinging a golf club at the end of the school last year and went through physical therapy all summer.

"I didn't get to play any golf all summer and started playing again a week before our season started," McGowan said. "I had set a goal to make the state tournament my freshman year and dealing with this injury just motivated me even more to achieve my goal. Every time I went to therapy all I thought about was being able to play."

Throughout the season she was one of the top girls in the district but a disappointing round in the district tournament left her in third place.

Achieving goals

"The day we played our district tournament, I had a goal set to be first or second in our district. I was in a lot of pain that day and there was a girl that had not beaten me all year beat me by like four strokes," McGowan said.

(Photo)
Amy Beth McGowan sends a putt toward the hole in the TSSAA State Golf Tournament that was held in Manchester at Willow Brook Golf Course on Tuesday and Wednesday.
(T-G Photo by Gary Johnson)
In the region tournament she finished the round in a three-way tie for the fourth and final spot to qualify to the state tournament.

"On our first playoff hole we all three had a double bogey on a par-five. I think our nerves really got to us. The next hole was a par-three and the first two were about 50 yards off the green with their tee shots. I knew if I could hit the green I might have a chance to win the hole. Thankfully my shot landed about five feet from the pin. That's the closest I've ever been to the pin on a par three. I birdied the hole and advanced to the state. It's a moment I'll never forget."

Comforting words

She got off to a shaky start in the first day of the state tournament after hitting her first shot into the water.

"I was really excited about playing in the state tournament and when I first to there I was just overwhelmed by the number of people that was on the course. It was unbelievable. I really didn't get nervous until I got on the tee box and realized what all was going on. There were a number of people watching our group and unfortunately I hit my drive into the water," McGowan said. "After my ball went into the water, one of the girls I was playing with told me something that really comforted me and gave me a lot of confidence. She said, "We all have those shots and you're going to do better the next time."

From that point McGowan settled down and she and the other three girls in her group became friends and build a special bond.

"That was probably the best and most fun round of golf I've played throughout my four years of high school. We got each others' phone numbers and it was like we were family, just out there playing golf and having fun."

State tourney

McGowan carded a 95 in her first round and shot a 96 yesterday and finished the tournament with a 191.

Samantha Gotcher from Clarksville won the Class 3A girls state tournament with a 3-under par 141.

Even though McGowan's score wasn't in the hunt at the end, her accomplishment didn't go unnoticed from her high school coach.

"I'm just so proud of Amy Beth. She's just such a good kid and a good leader. She's someone you can depend on and she always represented herself, her family and our school in a positive manner," Central coach Kevin Thomas said. "For her not to get to play any this past summer and deal with her shoulder injury this entire season and still be as successful as she was says a lot about the type of person she is."


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