If there's anything Katie Brenny has learned through golf it's that persistence pays off.
It took the Little Falls native six appearances to win the Class AA Minnesota individual girls' golf championship. Now, as a member of the University Of Wake Forest Demon Deacons women's golf team, persistence is what Brenny needs again.
Last week Wake Forest traveled to Sun River, Ore., to compete in the NCAA Women's Golf Championships. The Deacons finished 17th out of 24 teams with a four-round team score of 1,228.
Although Brenny wasn't happy with her play, she was at least consistent, shooting 81, 79, 80, 80, in the four-day tournament.
"The second day and the fourth day were miserable as far as weather," said the sophomore. "The first and third days were nice but it didn't matter because I shot the same thing every day.
"The experience was great though. Everyone has the look and the attitude that this is the best of the best. The facility and everyone that works the tournament is very professional. It's equivalent to a PGA tournament.
"The course was in U.S. Open condition with the fairways cut to a couple of millimeters. The greens were like putting on cement. It was fun to play on something like that. Unfortunately, I didn't show up with my game."
Brenny's rounds were well below her pre-round goal of 75, but she couldn't give a reason for, in her opinion, her sub-par play.
"I have tried to explain it to everyone, and even myself, but I just didn't have it," Brenny said. "I honestly don't know what happened. Sometimes I can just go out and shoot 75 and everything works. I went out there and I struggled to shoot 80.
"I don't think it was confidence. Everything was normal. I just couldn't hit the ball to tell you the truth. I didn't hit solid shots. I usually always hit the ball solid.
"During the tournament I hit the ball so bad. I hit it thin or fat and I couldn't hold it on the green."
A member of the 1998 state champion Flyers team, Brenny knows what it takes to win big events. She says she will keep this experience in the back of her mind.
"I lost five state tournaments before I won it," Brenny said. "It was a great learning experience to play that bad. I always say that I'm happy I lost the first five (state tournaments) before I won the sixth because it makes it feel that much better. I will learn from this."
Brenny puts pressure on herself to perform well. In her second year of college, Brenny helped the Deacons win the Lady Paladin Invitational at Greenville, S.C. It was Wake Forest's first win in three years.
Brenny and her four Demon Deacon teammates weren't finished as they also captured the Bryan National Collegiate Tournament at Brown Summit, N.C.
"Even though I wasn't thrilled about nationals, I have played every tournament so I'm meeting the expectations of my coach," Brenny said. "We played well as a team. We won two tournaments and it's a big deal to win a tournament.
"Personally, I had a really hard year. I wasn't happy with how I played the whole year. I got down on myself and down on my golf game and it snowballed to the end of the year. I have never looked forward to the end of the season but I felt like that this year. I want to start fresh next year. It's sad to say but it's true."
Along with Brenny, senior Kelly Kirwin, Grand Rapids, is a member of the team.
For Means, and other women moving on to play college golf, Brenny says it's a much bigger deal and business all the time.
"There's no fooling around," Brenny said. "You have to put in your time. It's so hard to balance school and golf. As you get older you just do. You have a lot more going on than in high school.
"It's still fun. I love it because this is what I chose. It means everything to me in a way. Golf isn't life but it's got me where I am."
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