An Enterprise golfer will be among those competing in July at the 71st U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.
At a high-pressure sectional qualifier last Thursday in Scottsboro, Emilia Smith shot one-under par 71 and bested Auburn’s Morgan Jones on the first playoff hole to earn the second qualifying spot behind Hunstville’s Michaela Morard.
“I’m just super excited, and I’m pumped,” Smith told The Ledger after qualifying. “It’s definitely going to be one of the highest pressure situations I’ve been in, but I feel pretty good considering I managed to get through this one. The hardest part here was being able to compete against some of the best golfers across the state.”
The 16-year-old Smith will be entering new territory for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship -- the premier junior event -- being held in Stevens Point, Wis. on July 22-27, but she has always embraced new challenges. A golfer most of her life, she discovered her passion for the sport at a young age due to a willingness to embrace new situations.
“The first time I ever picked up a golf club was with my Dad,” Smith said. “I was six. He didn’t really ask me to; I just wanted to after watching him play. I found I had a knack for it, and I started playing at Tartan Pines Golf Club and eventually I started competing.”
Smith actually lives in Level Plains, but attends Enterprise High School where she will soon begin her senior year. She has qualified three times for the Alabama High School Athletic Association State Golf Tournament.
At the championship, she will vie for the prestigious Glenna Collett Vare Trophy.
“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity,” Smith said. “My goal is to just do my best and keep trucking from there.”