Photo by Frank Couch.
Hoover's Mychael O'Berry on the first tee at the Spain Park Invitational golf tournament held at Timberline Golf Club in Calera, Alabama, on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.
The state championship this year would be one thing. It would be the third in a row for the Hoover girls golf team. One is a feat in and of itself.
But that’s only part of the objective.
“It was their goal two years ago. We talked about trying to win the first one. Then they said, ‘We want to win four straight before we get out of here,’” head coach Lori Elgin said.
“They” are the top three of Mychael O’Berry, Julie Baker and Carson McKie, and the trio is halfway to making that lofty goal come to fruition, something that can scare their coach from time to time.
“When they set goals, they go for it,” Elgin said. “They’re very goal-oriented and that will make a difference.”
O’Berry and Baker are No. 1 and 2, respectively, for the Bucs and are juniors. O’Berry showed so much promise that she was brought up to the varsity squad as an eighth-grader.
“Her seventh-grade year I pulled her up for the playoffs and she actually made it to the state tournament as an individual,” Elgin said. “She is very experienced. She’s just a phenomenal golfer, great student, everything.”
Baker came up as an eighth-grader and is now joined by her sister, Emily, a freshman in the No. 4 slot on the team.
“Those two girls are really the heart and soul of our program right now,” Elgin said of her top pair.
“Me and Mychael are really close because we’re the same age, but we’re really competitive because we push each other to get better,” Baker said.
Out of the two, Baker claims that she is the best off the box and on the green, but O’Berry has her beat with the irons and wedges. Even though she contends to be the better overall putter, she gives O’Berry the edge if the team needed one crucial putt to fall.
“Oh, Mychael,” Baker said. “No, I couldn’t do that. She’s good about that sort of thing.”
McKie, a sophomore, has already made waves on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, and the younger Baker sister has improved greatly over her first year on the varsity team, according to Elgin.
Those two are not to be lost in the shuffle, as the third and fourth scores can be pivotal in high school golf.
“I think it’s our whole team (that makes us so good), because it really good comes down to the third score. Our whole team has to shoot good and play good. Last year, our No. 4 played really good and that’s how we won,” Baker said.
The Hoover girls placed second in the sub-state tournament behind Spain Park but qualified to go to the state tournament. The 2016 state tournament will take place at the Hampton Cove Golf Course in Huntsville, May 9-10.