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'Chronicle' girls golfer of the year honor helps begin busy summer for Eunice Yi

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In a little less than three years of playing golf, Eunice Yi has come a long way.

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Lakeside golfer Eunice Yi competes in the Girls State Golf Championship at Bartram Trail Golf Course. Yi shot 2-over par 74 and helped lead her team to the GHSA Class AAAA girls state championship.   JIM BLAYLOCK/FILE
JIM BLAYLOCK/FILE
Lakeside golfer Eunice Yi competes in the Girls State Golf Championship at Bartram Trail Golf Course. Yi shot 2-over par 74 and helped lead her team to the GHSA Class AAAA girls state championship.

And there’s no telling just how far she can go.

At the end of her junior year at Lakeside High School, Yi shot 2-over par 74 at Bartram Trail and helped lead her team to the GHSA Class AAAA girls state championship. For her accomplishments, Yi is The Augusta Chronicle’s girls golfer of the year.

Winning the state championship was a special thing.

”It was great, we finally won,” Yi said. “It was hard when my teammate (Elizabeth Kim) got hurt, but she pulled it through.”

And now, less than a month later, the 16-year-old Yi has embarked on what will be an ambitious time before the beginning of her senior year.

“I’m going to play just big events this summer,” Yi said.

So even while she’s near the top of the leaderboard of the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour with two first first-place finishes and a second-place finish in the three events in which she has competed, that will be it for the year.

She began the summer traveling to the Athens Country Club June 4-5 where she competed at the Georgia PGA Junior Championship. After the first day she was tied for fifth.

Already in place for Yi is the Callaway Jr. World Golf Championships July 7-13 in San Diego, and she hopes to be able to qualify for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship in Daly City, Calif., on July 16-21.

“This summer will be a real good experience to get better playing against good players,” she said.

The strategy is one that she says has already helped improve her game along the way.

“I definitely have more experience from going to tournaments,” Yi said. “My swing got way better along with my short game.”

Lakeside golf head coach Bill Richey agreed.

“She has improved so much in the last three years,” Richey said. “She is an excellent player from the tees and she is working to become more consistent around the greens. She is beginning to play like a more experienced player. She is definitely fun to watch.”

And getting better is what drives her.

“She is one of the hardest working players I have worked with,” Richey said. “She plays a full junior schedule as well as maintaining a hectic practice regimen. When she is not in a tournament you will find her at the Jones Creek practice facility.”

Yi wryly acknowledged this.

“I live there,” she said.

While she has one more year of high school to complete, all of Yi’s experiences are leading her to her ultimate future.

“My main goal is to be a pro,” Yi said. “I’ll probably play at college and then go out and be a pro.”

She added she doesn’t want to go too far away because she wants to be near her private coach Drew Belt.

While wanting to be close, she sill has standards that colleges will have to meet.

“It would have to have a good practice facility and a good coach and be able to help take me to my goal of turning pro,” Yi said.


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