Azarcon Plays with PGA Golfer in California

Anh Trinh, Staff Writer

As she waited for her turn to tee off, her stomach churned at the thought of whether she had prepared enough. The short-lived wait ended, as they called her name.

She got into position and swung hard. A smile appeared on her face as the ball landed on the grass, with a satisfying thump.

Sophomore Aysis Azarcon tied for 20th place in The Nature Valley First Tee, along with PGA tour golfer Tom Kite, by shooting a 69-68-69 on Sept. 13-18, in Pebble Beach, California.

“I was just trying to work up to their (PGA) level,” Azarcon said. “I wasn’t disappointed about the results of that day,i was just estatic to play.”

Azarcon said she first found out she was eligible to play when she woke up to congratulatory texts.

“When I found out, I was really emotional,” Azarcon said. “I was home alone and my parents and my coaches were the first ones to find out. I just woke up to the texts saying congratulations. I was so shocked.”

Golfing in California was a new experience Azarcon said.

“Playing there made it great,” she said. “The landscape around us, while I played, was really pretty. Going to play in another state was surreal.”

Azarcon said playing with a professional was amazing.

“He (Tom Kite) was really nice,” she said. “He helped me a lot and especially since we couldn’t use our range finders. The caddy helped a lot also.”

Participating in competitions better her skills, Coach Lindsay Matthews said.

“The tournaments that Aysis plays outside of school only helps her perform better in the tournaments that we play in as a team,” she said. “She learns from every experience and you can see that growth on the golf course.”

Earlier this year, she participated in the Regional Competition at Southern Hills Country Club in Oklahoma.

“It was my last year to try to get into the Drive, Chip, and Putt Tournament at Augusta but going as far as Southern Hills was really fun,” she said.

Teammate Kaitlyn Miller said Azarcon manages to balance her school and golf life.

“It’s mostly her work ethic because she goes to practice every day and even outside of our practice,” she said. “Her parents didn’t force her to do it, (it’s) her passion. She really loves golf herself.”

Azarcon said her motivation to continue to play and practice every day comes from the all the support she receives.

“Just knowing that everyone believes in me and that I have a potential future in golf drives me every day,” she said. “(I) just (like) making people around me happy.”

With the support of her coaches and family, she aims to play professionally in the Ladies Professional Golfers Association (LPGA).

“She has the ability and the mindset to go play college golf at a D1 school and then go on to play on the LPGA, if she chooses to go that route,” Matthews said.

Azarcon enters tournaments hoping her achievements catch the attention of scouts to further her career beyond high school.

“Right now I’m a junior (player) so the only thing I can do is sign up for tournaments,” she said. “Coaches from colleges go to them and pick out players they want to recruit.”

Matthews said Azarcon will only rise from here.

“She practices hard but knows when to take breaks if needed,” she said. “Her attitude definitely contributes to her success. I have seen her game improve tremendously since she first joined us.”

Azarcon said she couldn’t see life without golf.

“Golf has been with me for as long as I could remember and I’d be lost if I didn’t have it,” she said. “In the future, I can’t wait for it to guide me to unimaginable places.”