When you’re only 15 years old, have lived on the golf course throughout most of your life and your dad is an avid golfer, there’s every chance you might pick up the game of golf. That’s the case for Amy Wooten, who began hitting the links at the tender age of six, and she’s gotten better each and every year. Now attending Clinton High School, the junior has her goal set on hopefully winning the North Carolina High School women’s championship in 2A.
In the eighth grade she and her dad went out to watch the state championship at Long Leaf Golf Course in Pinehurst. After watching the match, her dad, Leroy, told her she could hang with those boys. Entering the ninth grade, Wooten played on the boy’s team, since Clinton doesn’t have a girls’ group.
The boys were a bit apprehensive about a girl playing on the team, she said, but it didn’t take them long to figure out that Wooten was a fierce competitor and a very good golfer. Even teasing that started when she would beat one of the boy’s on the team soon stopped because she was not only defeating some of her teammates but her opponents as well.
At age seven she started playing in tournaments. In fact, the day her younger brother was born she won her first National Junior Golf Tournament at Walnut Creek. They had to rush from Raleigh in order to get to the hospital just in time for the baby to enter the world.
Practice makes perfect and if that’s the case she will always be a winner. Wooten practices daily and has a passion for the game, almost living on the course itself. She practices chipping, putting, and pitch shots 40-70 yards daily.
At the age of 10 she set the Timberlake Golf Course record with a score of 67 with five birdies, and one bogy. This month, she broke her own record with a 62 with two bogies.
“When I played in my first scrimmage on the boy’s team I was very nervous, but soon settled down and came up six short of the school record. The high school coaches were very supportive,” said Amy.
This year she is representing Clinton on a 4A Mid South Conference team, as an individual, and the closest player to her was 22 shots behind— she shot a 69 and a 65. Her team is currently 6-0. Amy came close to breaking the state record but was one stroke shy of 64 — she shot a 65.
There are 155 trophies along with 39 first and second place ribbons in the trophy room in her home.
Two years ago her dad hired Chase Duncan, the best top Junior coach on the East Coast and golf coach at North Carolina State. “He’s a lot more technical like what the swing does at impact. He helps me to understand my swing in a step by step process. I love the way he teaches, he doesn’t change your swing and he has a great personality,” she asserted.
Other coaches that have helped her along the way are David Orr of Campbell and Brad Redding at Myrtle Beach Dunes. “I owe them a lot as well,” added Amy.
Eddie Gray, men’s golf coach at Clinton, will be her coach at the Regionals on Oct. 18 at Timberlake Golf Course in Clinton. The state finals are slated to be held on Oct. 24 and 25.
When you first meet Amy and her dad you can immediately see she is a daddy’s girl. They travel all over the country playing in golf tournaments. They would go from one tournament to another and have been gone as many as 14 days.
“My goal is to win a state championship in the girls’ division and also in the boys’ division,” said Amy.
Amy is quick to point out that Vicki DiSantis, director of the Junior Golf Association in Charlotte, has been a big influence on her.
Amy has followed Danielle Kang when she was playing amateur golf in the United States Junior Golf Championship, and now on the PGA tour where she finished seventh last week.
Recently she played in the Jimmy Anderson Golf Tournament in Jacksonville where 55 girls competing. Amy finished third. There were girls there from six different states. She shot a 74 and a 68, five shots away.
“I am hopeful to get a golf scholarship in college maybe at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington or Coastal Carolina in South Carolina. With a little more work I hope to someday play on the Ladies Professional Tour, but I’m taking it one step at a time,” Amy said.
If golf doesn’t work out she wants study forensic science which has always been one of her dream’s.
Whether she wins the state, gets a scholarship, plays professional golf, or is a forensic scientist. She will always be successful, it seems to be her middle name.
Melony Henderson can be reached at [email protected]