Golfer of the Year: Pressure no problem for Creekview’s Stevenson
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
June 15, 2013 04:38 PM | 1254 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Whitney Stevenson
Whitney Stevenson
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As Creekview’s No. 1 golfer each of the last two seasons, Whitney Stevenson learned how to handle pressure.

The recent graduate said she felt a little bit of pressure to carry the Lady Grizzlies when first entrusted with the leadership role, but in the end, it was nothing compared to the pressure she put upon herself.

At some point, Stevenson realized that shooting an “OK” round for her was considered “good” for many others. And while she might not have played up to the standard she set for herself this season, Stevenson recognized that it was better than many of the girls she faced.

“Not everyone goes out and shoots a 69 every day,” she said. “I’m completely pleased with my year this year.”

For helping Creekview as it defended its county title and pursued a state title, Stevenson is the 2013 Cherokee Tribune Girls Golfer of the Year.

Stevenson proved to be an able leader this season. While she may not have always been the Lady Grizzlies’ lowest-scoring player, she was consistent.

Coach Casey Gramling praised Stevenson’s consistency, saying she scored in every match the team played this season.

“She was our senior, and a lot of the girls looked up to her,” Gramling said. “She was a consistent scorer, someone the other girls could count on.”

Prior to Stevenson’s final season with Creekview, the Georgia High School Association changed its rules for the sports. Rather than playing three golfers and having two scores count toward its total, teams were required to play four golfers, with three scores counting.

Creekview had just four players go out for the team.

“We had four girls on the team, and we play four, so we ended up being really close,” Stevenson said. “I’d say we all played really well, and we all got along. Although I didn’t play my best, I was still happy for my teammates.”

Stevenson said the rule change made golf more a team sport than it was in the past.

“I think it helped us,” Stevenson said. “I wanted to know what my teammates were doing, but I still played my own game, knowing that every stroke counts.”

In addition to being a key member of the Creekview roster, Stevenson, like most prep golfers, play consistently during the summer and fall in mini-tours or junior events. She has several tournaments planned for this summer, including next week’s Georgia Girls’ Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

At many of these events, Stevenson faces the same opponent time after time — and, in many cases, forms relationships with them.

“I get to know a lot of girls from other schools because they practice at the same club as me, or I will see them and have conversations with them before tournaments,” Stevenson said. “You kind of form a bond.”

Stevenson said it’s more challenging playing individual tournaments than with her teammates at Creekview, but only because the field is usually more competitive and the distances are further.

“We don’t play the women’s tees, like we do in high school,” Stevenson said, “so it’s a little break when you get to the high school season as far as that goes.”

Stevenson will be facing some new pressure as she continues her career at Daytona State College in Florida.

Her low for an 18-hole round is 71, which she did last spring at the Georgia Club. She knows she will need to hit that mark more consistently if she is to become the reliable player in college that she was in high school.

“I’m just trying to play as much golf as I can this summer,” she said. “I know the competition will be way different when I’m playing for Daytona State next year. I am working on building my endurance for those 36-hole tournaments in one day. I want to build my confidence to where I can jump in and be a part of the team.

“I’d say there will be more pressure. Definitely a lot of pressure to perform and put in work and practice. It will be studying and going to the golf course all day.”

Stevenson is also working on her short game at this time. She lives in the Woodmont Golf Club community near Creekview and splits her practice time between there and BridgeMill Athletic Club. During summer trips to Roscommon, Mich. — a small town about 200 miles north of Detroit — she often plays a favorite course of hers, Forest Dunes.

“It has one side that is completely forest, and the other side is all sand dunes,” Stevenson said. “It’s pretty cool. I play there every summer.”
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