When Samantha Vodry isn’t in class at Mooresville High, or at home, you can probably find her on a golf course working on her game.
That dedication and persistence has made Vodry one of the state’s top junior golfers, and a contender for the North Carolina high school championship.
“School and golf is all I’ve done for awhile,” Vodry said. “I’ve spent a lot of my time at the golf course, making a lot of sacrifices to get out there. Sometimes, when my friends were going to hang out, I’d suck it up and go practice.”
In that regard, it’s been Vodry’s work over the spring and summer in junior tournaments that have helped prepare her for this year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association’s state championships, being played at Pinehurst No. 6 on Oct. 26-27.
She advanced to the semifinals of the N.C. Junior Girls Championship in Greenville, N.C., and finished the summer ranked third in the Peggy Kirk Bell Tour’s Order of Merit standings.
“I’ve been working a lot on my driver throughout the winter, and during the spring and summer,” Vodry said. “I’m getting a lot of distance. That’s helped me put myself in better opportunities to get close to the pin. I’ve also gotten a lot better on my putting.
“But I’m more confident, really. That’s been a big part of it. My confidence has gotten a lot better over the years, especially this year. I’ve been going for it a lot more this year, and not worrying about it as much.”
That confidence and improvement in Vodry’s game has also shown up on the golf course during the high school season.
Heading into the NCHSAA 4A West Regional tournament, which begins Oct. 19 at Taylorsville’s Brushy Mountain Golf Course, Vodry has medaled in seven of the 10 matches she played this season.
Her 35.0 average per nine-hole event is third-best in the state, according to national high school athletics website www.maxpreps.com, just behind defending 4A state champ Jennifer Chang of Raleigh’s Athens Drive and defending 2A state champ Grace Yatawara of Salisbury.
Vodry knows the upcoming regional and state tournaments are her last hurrah at both the high school and junior golf level before heading off to High Point’s NCAA Division I-level women’s golf team.
“I’m really excited about this,” Vodry said. “I can’t wait to get to college golf. I’m just going to prepare myself and go in strong, and do the best I can. I’m really excited to get to that next level.”
But first, there’s the state tournament.
After finishing in the top 10 at the state championships the past two years, tying for ninth as a then-Lake Norman High sophomore in 2013, and fifth as a junior in 2014 after transferring to Mooresville, Vodry has her sights set on No. 1 this year.
“Definitely, I really want to win it this year,” Vodry said. “It’s my senior year, and I really want to finish it strong. I feel that I can win (the state title). I just gotta practice up, prepare and do the best I can. If I can shoot two consistent low scores, I think I’ve got a chance.”
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.