Sophia Suarez really can’t describe her experience golfing in the John Deere Golf Classic Pro-Am last week. Cal it an out-of-golf experience. She’s never had anything close to it before.
“It was everything and more than I imagined it to be! It was so awesome,” said Suarez, who was nominated by PHS athletic director Jesse Brandt and selected by Piehl’s Motors to represent Chevrolet and their dealerships.
Her family could hardly stand it they were so happy for her. Suarez said her mom couldn’t help but cry whenever she looked at her on the course.
“Even my sister, Tori, kept saying, ‘Sophia, this is the best day of my life!” It really was a great day,” Suarez said.
PHS coach Will Gross, who served as Suarez’s caddie, had a hard time watching his standout player in action.
“Coach could barely hand me a ball and a tee on the first tee box without dropping it, he was shaking so bad,” she said.
The week got started with a pairings party at Jumers. There were 54 teams including four amateurs paired with one of the pros. She gained a new fan in Robert Garrigus, the PGA pro golfing in her group, who took a special appreciation of Suarez’s game.
“My pro Garrigus, kept joking around and saying, ‘keep making those birdies Sophia.’ Because of my handicap, I was given a stroke for every hole, so if I got a par, it counted as a birdie for my team. It was pretty cool to actually put forth something for the team, and they could use me,” she said.
Their team finished at 11 under with Suarez carding a 94.
Suarez, who was the 2013 BCR Golfer of the Year as a junior at PHS, had a real feel-good moment when she met some admiring fans of hers along the way.
“I think the best part of the experience was seeing these three girls, probably about 10-13 years old following my group the whole time, look at me with such awe,” she said. “They asked me to take a picture with them, and I felt like I showed them what hard work and dedication can do! It felt awesome to have such big fans. Along with my family being even bigger fans.”
Maybe one day, they’ll be watching Suarez on the LPGA.
• Ashton’s Hike: Ashton Landrus, aka the 12-year-old Miracle Boy from Princeton, is doing great in his recovery from his sudden illness this spring. He should be coming home soon and is he answer to much prayer. Keep up that hike, Ashton.
• Behind the scenes: July is the month for local Little League tournaments. They just don’t happen, but rather through hard work like people like the Western Bureau Valley League’s Jerry Fairbanks of Walnut and District 20’s Max Lauritzen of Princeton and Mark Judy of Peru. They’re all in it for the kids
Tell them thanks next time you see.
• Prince of a picture: Just asking, but what did you think of Prince Fielder’s pose on the cover of ESPN the Magazine’s annual Body Issue? In a word, interesting.
• Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at email@example.com