Who's No. 1? Boyle teammates like friendly competition

September 08, 2003|MIKE MARSEE

This is one battle for No. 1 that isn't much of a fight.

It's not that there isn't a contest for the top spot on the Boyle County girls golf team. In fact, the same two girls who battled for the No. 2 position are now competing for No. 1. But because the two girls involved are friends, and because they know their competition is making both of them better, they're enjoying it.

Katie Layfield and Amber Baker have risen from the bottom of the Boyle scoresheet over the years, and this year they're essentially sharing the role of the team's top player.

Right now, Baker has a slight edge based on their season scoring averages. Earlier in the season, it belonged to Layfield.


"It's been like that," Layfield said. "Last year we were fighting for who was second-best."

Layfield, a senior, is in her fourth year on the team; Baker, a junior, is in her fifth season. As they have improved from one season to the next, they have come to depend on each other.

"She's so much fun to play with," Baker said of Layfield. "If you have a bad shot, she's OK with it. She gives you a lot of encouragement."

"I think we make each other feel better when we hit bad shots," said Layfield.

There are still bad shots occasionally, but they don't come as often as they used to. Both girls have nine-hole averages in the mid to low 40s.

"It's really close," Baker said. "She's in the middle 40s, now, but a week ago she was in the low 40s."

The best round of the season for each girl is a 42, but Baker's came more recently so she moved past Layfield to No. 1.

"Last week I shot 42 and she shot 46," Baker said.

Both girls enjoy the fact that their battle is taking place on a higher plane.

"It's a lot better," Baker said. "I used to be in the upper 40s and low 50s, but I've improved a lot this year."

"Last year I was in the low 50s, and rarely in the high 40s," Layfield said.

Layfield said she has made the most improvement this year in her short game, though she said that isn't the area she has worked on most in practice. Baker said her drives and iron play are the reason she has been able to shave strokes off her score.

They are the leaders of a young team that is trying to rebuild with three first-year players.

"I get to tell them stories about when I first started," Layfield said.

And the two girls get to watch them learn the game as they did just a few years ago.

"It's interesting to see how they've improved because I was there once, and I know how hard it was," Baker said.

Layfield said she remembers how hard it was the first time she played with the Boyle team.

"My mom plays a little bit, and so does my grandfather and a lot of my family," she said. "I used to watch my mom play and hit a few balls, and one day she picked me up at choir practice and took me to the golf course and said, 'You're joining the golf team.'

"I was a freshman, and I'd never even played nine holes before."

Baker said she came to the game primarily because of her grandfather.

"I just enjoy playing," he said. "My grandfather really encouraged me to play."

Now they're encouraging Boyle's new players, who include freshmen Carolann Buchanan and Emily Bryant and seventh-grader Erica Mills.

Baker said Buchanan has become one to watch as she has moved up to the No. 3 spot on the roster.

"I would really watch Carolann. This is her first year, and she's already in the high 40s," Baker said.

Baker will still be around to watch her teammates next season, but Layfield will be moving on. She said she wouldn't mind playing golf in college, and she knows she'll be playing the game for years to come even after she's through competing, but art is her first love.

"I'm really into art, and that's something I can have a career in," Layfield said. "I found one art school that has a golf team in Savannah (Ga.), and I might take a look at that."

Central Kentucky News Articles