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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
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Junior player grew a love for golf from a young age


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Golf wasn’t the first sport Ashley Zagers tried.

First came ballet, when she was very young. Dad was happy with that except for one thing — he wanted Ashley to give golf a try.

Ashley, now 15 and home schooled, plays on the Cambridge Christian golf team when she isn’t touring the Southeast playing junior events. She was indifferent to golf until she realized she had some skill at the game and it grew on her.

She practices regularly at The Downs golf facility in Oldsmar and has not only grown to love the game, but she has become a big name among junior golfers in the Southeast.

But it didn’t come easy.

“I didn’t play well at first and I was behind almost all of the other kids my age, but I kept banging away,” Ashley said after returning from a tournament where she was close to the leaders for two rounds before fading in the final round. “I started taking lessons at The Downs and things started to come together.”

Ashley works with two of the professionals at The Downs — Matt Mitchell and Jon Johnson — and she’s there twice a week. She sees her game coming along nicely and said she simply needs to master the mental aspect of the game.

“When I was playing in the tournament last week, I was doing OK until I started playing scared,” Ashley said. “I knew I could have played better but I know what I need to work on. I do everything OK, but nothing perfect. I have a lot to learn.”

Ashley won the district title last year playing for Cambridge Christian and is already hearing from colleges. Auburn and Georgia State have already made contact and she’s hoping to be in touch with South Florida and Central Florida. She also has bigger goals, such as trying to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open next year.

As for after school, she has a lot of goals in mind. A career on the LPGA Tour is one of them. If she doesn’t make it that far, she wants to open a golf academy. She said she never gets tired of standing out in the sun hitting golf balls over and over.

“If I didn’t play golf every day, what would I do?” the 15-year-old asked. “I’d just sit around all day. I love playing and I never get tired of it. It’s too much fun.”

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