MOORESVILLE – The constant change is the one consistency continuing to keep Mooresville High School’s Lauren Martin out on the golf course.
No two shots, much less a pair of rounds, ever seem the same.
“That’s one of the things that really attracted me to the game of golf in the first place,’’ said Martin, a junior who managed to control the ebb and flow of the sport solid enough this past fall season to merit the distinction of being named the Statesville Record & Landmark All-County Girls Golfer of the Year. “You never really know what’s going to happen from one swing to the next. The fact that it is never the same, no matter how much you play, is part of the thrill for me.”
That fact was perhaps made the most obvious during Martin’s high school career to date over the course of her two rounds played on back-to-back days at the very same course in the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class state championship finals.
Gathering on the Pinehurst No. 3 course of competition in the 36-hole, stroke-play affair, Martin – the only member of the Mooresville team to secure a state finals appearance – made the entire field’s single-largest stroke improvement from the opening round to the second to account for an overall top-10 individual finish.
Martin logged in with a round of 82 at the par-72 site to reside near the middle of the standings at the midway mark. In the second and final round held at the same course and conducted over the very same holes, Martin knocked eight strokes of her score to card a round of two-over-par 74 that was also the second-lowest individual round of the day.
It was the biggest move up the leader board of any other participant and enabled Martin to officially fashion a tie for eighth-place among the nearly 80 players from across the state comprising the NCHSAA 4A state finals field.
“I don’t know what happened in that first round,’’ shrugged Martin. “I think I let my nerves get the best of me. I realized that I was not only playing for myself but also for my school. I let the pressure get to me a little bit. I calmed down a lot over that second round and got back to playing my game. I was very pleased with the way I finished.”
And with good reason.
The performance in the state finals merely served to apply the final layer of shine to a successful season.
Martin emerged as the individual match medalist in each and every one of Mooresville’s matches. It was in particular during the course of competition within the Lady Blue Devils’ I-Meck Conference ranks where she enforced her rule.
Martin never carded a score higher than one-over par in any league nine-hole match. She secured medalist honors in each I-Meck outing and sealed her selection as the league’s Golfer of the Year by amassing a more than 25-stroke advantage over the next-best fairway finisher.
During the course of single round taking place in the form of the NCHSAA 4A West Region held on the Mooresville Golf Club course she also considers her home, Martin parlayed a score of 77 landing her with a fourth-place finish individually into the securing of one of the limited number of berths into the state finals.
“I was very satisfied with my season,” assessed Martin. “I was happy with the results. I felt like I played very consistently in the conference, and that’s about all you can ask for in this game. It can be so unpredictable from one shot to the next. I still always feel like I can be better.”
Martin credits her accuracy off the tee as the one of her best assets. She is also well aware of the area of her game that poses her the most problems.
“I always feel like I can almost always hit the fairway off the tee,’’ said Martin. “However, on my bad days, I have trouble with my putting. Those are also some of the most important shots. I try hard to work that part of my game.”
And she spends a lot of time grooming it.
When weather allows, she can usually be spotted at the driving range, on the putting green or out on the course itself, tinkering with the various aspect of her playing abilities.
“I try to get out there to practice as much as possible,” stressed Martin. “It’s tough sometimes during the winter. I was going stir-crazy with all the snow that kept the local courses closed.”
Martin also stays active in the sport by competing in various tournaments throughout the year as well.
It’s all part of a master plan that Martin hopes will continue to allow her to make room for improvement.
“I definitely want to make it back to the state finals my senior year,’’ said Martin. “After making it into the top 10 this year, I want to break into the top five and see what can happen from there.”
ALL-COUNTY GIRLS GOLF TEAM
Lauren Martin, Mooresville
Natalie Landi, Mooresville
Meredith Carson, Lake Norman
Justine Caskey, South Iredell
Maria Franco, South Iredell
Isabella Gargano, South Iredell