Golfer Vanzant’s feel-good story continues

Published 9:04 am Thursday, September 16, 2021

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The feel-good story of Davie golfer Emerson Vanzant continued at Pine Knolls on Sept. 7.

You have to know where Vanzant’s career started to fully appreciate her ninth- and eighth-place finishes in the first two Central Piedmont Conference meets.  As a freshman, she persevered through a 55-stroke average; her scores being 54, 53, 58. Last spring as a sophomore, she managed to break 50 in all three nine-hole rounds (48, 48, 46).

Her junior season has produced a meteoric ascent. She opened with a nine-over 45. Next was a 1-over 24 in a meet cut to six holes. Then came Pine Knolls, where Vanzant carded a 6-over 42.

“Any success has definitely been by the grace of God and leadership of coach Bob (Donley),” she said. “I had never picked up a golf club until my freshman year. Most of the girls I play with have been playing since they were little, so it was definitely a challenge.”

After Davie’s spring season ended, Vanzant was determined to build on her jump from the 55 average to 47.3 as a sophomore.

“My dad said that it was a good idea to play in tournaments over the offseason to better my game,” she said. “So that is exactly what I did. My mom and dad would drive me all over North Carolina and watch me play these really hard courses. I have been playing from further back tees, which have in the past put doubt in my mind. After coming back to high school golf and playing from closer tees, I feel more confident and have been able to shoot lower. I’ve worked on strengthening my mental game. It is hard to have a bad shot and come back without doubting yourself. (At Pine Knolls) I had a triple bogey but was able to regroup and come back, paring the last two holes.”

Senior Annika McDaniel had a good day at 44 for 11th place, as Davie finished third behind Reagan (6-under 102) and West Forsyth (105) for the second time in two CPC outings. Davie’s total was 29-over 137, 16 strokes ahead of Reynolds.