If it wasn’t for a knee injury in 2018 that took her out of her other sports, Pullman junior Lauren Greeny might never have discovered her love for golf.
That new-found passion blossomed into her first major tournament win this week at Coeur d’Alene Public Golf Club in northern Idaho.
Greeny won the Idaho Junior Golf Association’s Northern District tournament Tuesday, about one year after picking up the sport out of necessity.
“I couldn’t do any of my other sports (because of the injury), but this year as I’ve gotten better, I learned to love it,” Greeny said.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Greeny has only one season of high school golf under her belt — as a freshman in 2019 when she was just starting out.
So Greeny took to practicing on her own with her dad, Burdette, almost everyday at Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
She said she’s thankful her new sport happens to be one that is allowed to continue during the pandemic.
“It’s very fortunate that the one sport I’m doing is pretty much the one that we can do,” Greeny said. “All the other sports are shut down.”
Greeny said she enjoys the pressure situations golf brings, and there was no shortage of that during her district title win.
Going down the stretch of the two-day tournament, Greeny was two strokes behind leader Kami Twining of Central Valley (Spokane Valley).
She made up one with a par on No. 16, then tied for the lead with a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to force a playoff.
The pair remained tied through the next three holes of sudden death.
It wasn’t until the fourth playoff hole that Greeny finally secured the championship with a 4-foot birdie.
“It was kind of just trucking along, having to make putts and chips,” Greeny said. “It was great, honestly. I haven’t really won anything big like that.”
While many golfers prefer to not know where they stand in the rankings, Greeny would rather know everyone’s score. For her, it actually helps her play better.
“Originally, I wasn’t supposed to keep track of the girl I was chasing, but I kept track of her score ’cause I like the pressure,” Greeny said. “Some people don’t, but it really pushes me to execute.”
Greeny said her strength right now is in her power. As she continues to improve, her short game and putting also are coming along.
“Kind of just perfecting my swing ’cause last year I just went out and I didn’t really have a coach,” Greeny said. “But now we’ve got a coach (Derek Siesser) up at Indian Canyon (Golf Course in Spokane), and he’s helped me out a lot.”
At the district tournament, Greeny shot scores of 79 and 76 for an 11-over-par 155. Her low score is a 73 at Circling Raven Golf Course in Worley, where she spent a lot of time playing during the lockdown in the spring.
The daughter of Washington State volleyball coach Jen Greeny, Lauren Greeny used to also play volleyball, basketball and track.
But for now, her focus is all-in on golf. She next will play in a Washington Junior Golf Association district tournament Monday and Tuesday at Palouse Ridge. Then it’s back to Idaho for the IJGA state tournament July 23-25 at Sun Valley.
“Just kind of going tournament by tournament right now,” she said.
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