Mercer's McClain is one of area's top golfers

September 08, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

LIBERTY - Tracy McClain got into golf just for fun. But now that she's getting better, the game is getting to be even more fun.

The Mercer County junior is making steady progress, to the point where she has become one of the best female players from area high schools.

And that's something she never imagined when she took to the links for the first time with her older sister.

"At first, I just played it for fun because my mom wanted me and my sister to play a sport," she said. "Then I started liking it, and now I'm learning there might be some benefit in there for me."

That would be in the form of a college scholarship, something that has become readily available for high school girls who play golf. McClain's sister, Stacy, is already playing in college, and she has her sights set on the same goal.


McClain knows her scores will have to continue their downward trend, and she knows it would help if she could earn a spot in the state tournament.

"Hopefully this year I can make it to state," she said. "I'm hoping at region I can shoot in the low 90s or high 80s."

Spencer Tatum, Mercer's first-year coach, said he thinks that's within her reach.

"Tracy's been doing real well this year," Tatum said. "We really hope she's playing well the last couple weeks. That's our goal.

She didn't miss by much last year, only five or six strokes, carding the lowest regional score of any area player who didn't qualify for state when she posted a 98 at Somerset.

She's improved her average score by about five strokes

And she figures she has taken about five strokes off her nine-hole average since last season.

"From last season to this season, I've improved quite a bit," she said.

McClain's nine-hole scores have been consistent for most of the season. Her best round was a 44 at Bright Leaf, Mercer's home course, and she said her average is right at 45.

"I've been pretty steady," she said.

She said a new set of clubs has had something to do with her progress, but she said it isn't all about the equipment.

"I've slowed my swing down, and it's really helped me," she said. "I'm making better contact with the ball."

Tatum said McClain is putting in the effort necessary to improve.

"She works hard at it, and that's what it takes," he said. "And her hard work is starting to pay off."

Mercer's five-girl team is also getting better, though the Scotties aren't expected to contend for a team qualifying spot at the regional later this month.

"We've improved from last year, but we've still got a long way to go," McClain said.

McClain hopes golf will take her a long way, just as it did for her sister, who is on the team at Lindsey Wilson College.

At 16, Tracy McClain is three years younger than Stacy, but she has already scored her first victory over her older sister.

"I beat her once," she said. "And I won't let her live it down."

Central Kentucky News Articles