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Bixby’s Natalie Gough an Up-and-Coming Golfer

Sports Writer

FAIRWAY SHOT: Natalie Gough prepares to shoot from a fairway in the 2017 Class 6A Girls Golf State Championship, where she placed fifth.

Courtesy photo

Natalie Gough played many sports when she was younger, but by the time she was 10 years old, she had switched to golf.

Both her brother, Mason, and father, Walter, had played the game. But it was her brother who influenced her to play.

“Because he wanted to play and I wanted to follow him, and he was the coolest,” Gough says, smiling.

The Bixby golfer, who will be a senior when school starts in August, looks up to her brother for guidance on the links.

“Usually, if I have a big tournament in the summer, my brother usually caddies for me,” Gough says. “We get along well. We don’t fight anymore. We’re close and are very reliant on each other, and we help each other with everything in life.

“Whenever he caddies for me, I could be shooting over the holes I’ve played, and he keeps me ‘out of my head’ and calms me down,” Gough says.  

As her junior year came to an end last month, Gough finished tied for fifth as an individual in the Class 6A State Girls Golf Championship in Ponca City. She shot the lowest score for her team with a scorecard of 77-86—163. The Lady Spartans (365-371—736) placed eighth as a team.

It marked a gradual climb for Gough in the standings. She placed eighth as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore.

However, Gough was not satisfied.

“I wasn’t feeling that great about it because you know you can always do better,” she says. “You can always say that whenever you play though. But it was difficult considering on the second day only one girl shot in the 70s. It was rough. I was playing consistently. I wasn’t hitting bad, but I felt like my scores weren’t quite piecing together. But my short game was better. I’ve been practicing a lot up to that point. I’d been working a lot harder and it paid off with my swing and short game. Everything was better. It was a tough day for everyone.”

Gough made two birdies at state. The girl who hit in the 70s on day two was eventual champion Kaitlyn Milligan of Norman North, carding 74. Her 36-hole total was 147. Owasso (339-344—683) was the team champion.

The challenging aspects that Gough found at state was a north wind that came in, as well as the fact that Ponca City Country Club has slopes with its greens and fairways.

“It was difficult to play for sure,” she says. “I have a draw too when I hit, so it was hard for me to play a lot of shots on that course with that direction of the wind, and, the holes are tight, so you have to place it just right off the tee most of the times.”

The performance at state caps off a year of Top 5 finishes in all but one tournament, in which she was in the Top 10. Included were three runner-up finishes and another as top individual medalist.

One second-place finish came in an event at Buffalo Rock Golf and Gun in Cushing, in which the team took first. Gough’s first-place finish came in a big one, the Frontier Conference Championship at Forest Ridge Golf Club in Broken Arrow, making her the 2017 high school champion for the event.

“That day was exciting for me because I’ve been working hard for that tournament,” Gough says.

“I placed with 79 and only two of us shot in the 70s that day, so it was pretty tough and the greens were fast, but it was also fun because I got to play in a playoff hole with Baylee Brewer of Broken Arrow. We were friends when we were younger. We played in tournaments whenever we first started, so it was a lot of fun getting to play in that. It was challenging and competitive.”

This summer, Gough intends to prepare for her senior year by competing in the WOGA Junior, Optimist PGA Qualifier, the Texas-Oklahoma Open and possibly, the WOGA State Amateur. She is also considering the AJGA or South Central tournaments.

She is also a member at The Club at Indian Springs in Broken Arrow, “so I’ll be out there a lot. I’ll also be working out at Lit’l Links Golf Club with kids’ camps. I usually do that in the summer and play in tournaments too,” Gough says.

Updated 06-01-2017

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