By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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MVP: Alex McMenamin, freshman, Sequim — Led Olympic League with 41.0 scoring average. Finished third at Class 2A state tournament.
Brianna Kettel, junior, Sequim — Back to back All-Peninsula selection was sixth in Olympic League with 50.2 scoring mark. District qualifier missed state berth by one stroke.
Kate Haworth, junior, Port Angeles — Season-best round of 50 against Bremerton. Averaged a score of 55.4 in Olympic League play and qualified for West Central District Tournament.
Kailee Price, junior, Sequim — Third on Wolves with 56.5 scoring average. Posted season-best round of 50 against Port Angeles. Qualified for district tournament.
Chloe Brown, senior, Port Angeles — Teamed with Fox to finish second at Duke Streeter Invite. Shot season-best round of 50 against Bremerton. Qualified for district tournament.
Coach of the Year: Jacob Lippold, Port Angeles — New Peninsula Golf Club head pro added head coach to his duties and led a team of 13 golfers this season that included one state participant and two West Central District qualifiers.
It all started on the volleyball court for Fox.
“My freshman volleyball coach, Beth Krause, was going to be the golf coach that year and she said I should try it out and see if I liked it, so I did and I really enjoyed it,” Fox said.
Fox went to the range but hadn't played a round of golf until coming out for the team later that school year.
Despite being a novice, she said the game clicked with her quickly.
“My first match, really,” Fox said.
“Since then I've just wanted to keep getting better and improving.”
Fox qualified for the Class 2A state tournament in all four of her high school seasons.
She missed the cut as a freshman but took 34th as a sophomore in 2012, the first Roughriders girl to place at state since Kara Herzog tied for 33rd at the Class 3A tourney in 2008.
Fox wrapped her junior season with a seven-stroke improvement, moving 20 places up the leaderboard to finish tied for 14th.
That finish was the highest by a Port Angeles girls golfer since Nancy Swope, who went on to play collegiality at Western Washington University, finished tied for 16th in 2002.
This season Fox realized goals she had set way back as a freshman.
“Since I started playing, I really wanted to go undefeated in my season matches and place in the top 10 at state,” Fox said.
That's exactly what the left-handed player did, earning match medalist honors after recording the lowest round of any player in all eight of the Roughriders' Olympic League matches, with a scoring average of 41.4 per nine holes.
She kept it going by finishing first at the Olympic League Tournament at Cedars at Dungeness and qualifying for her fourth straight state tournament after shooting an 82.
The senior capped her impressive career with a sixth-place finish at the state tournament at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway.
For these accomplishments, Fox was voted Olympic League MVP with Sequim's Alex McMenamin, and the pair also share All-Peninsula Girls Golf MVP honors.
The two top players were grouped together in some tournaments this season. Fox enjoyed the friendly competition.
“It always made me push myself,” she said of playing against McMenamin.
“She's a great golfer. I just tried to do my best and enjoy playing with someone who's so talented.”
Fox worked on her short game extensively in the offseason in an effort to shed strokes.
Those efforts continued throughout the regular season.
“My focus has always been on my short game over the last few seasons,” Fox said.
“It was really repetition and spending time doing it over and over again, all different types of putting and chipping.”
Fox likes to get out on the Peninsula Golf Club course to get a feel for potential outcomes during competitive rounds.
“I go play out on the course, stop and play extra balls on the putting green or chip a few onto the green,” Fox said.
“It's more realistic to be out on the actual course. The chipping and putting green are always the same, but when you go out on the course there are all sorts of things that can happen.”
After a smooth start to her senior season, Fox hit a bit of rough patch with her driving accuracy.
“My first few matches the drives were pretty much perfect and I thought I got it down,” Fox said.
“About halfway through the season I started pulling the ball to the left because I was turning my wrists too fast.
“My left hand tries to take over, so I worked on that a lot, more repetition, to try and fix it.”
Fox added that she was able to fix the issue before the end of the season — as shown by her Olympic League Championship and sixth-place finish at state.
In the fall, Fox will enroll at Bellevue College where she signed to play for the Bulldogs women's golf team.
“As a junior I set up an online profile with a recruiting website and the Bellevue coach [Bryan Stevens, a former University of Washington men's golfer and past Seattle City Amateur champion] contacted me personally and came out and visited before this season,” Fox said.
Fox received interest from some midwestern liberal arts colleges but most of those schools lacked architecture programs, the field of study she is interested in pursuing.
“They have a really good academic program and I had never been to Bellevue before, and it was a really nice place,” Fox said.
“I liked the coach and the golf program seemed like they had a lot to offer.”
Bellevue had a rebuilding year in Stevens' first season in 2013-14 but the program did win the 2012 and 2013 NWAACC championships under current assistant coach Kirk Johanson.
The school also has produced two players in recent years who have gone on to continue their careers at four-year universities.
“If I get the chance to do that [play at a four-year school] that would be great,” Fox said.
“It's what I'm working toward.”