Lake Norman & Mooresville

Viking golfer works hard to achieve goals

Katie Kirk loves to play golf.

In an average week, the North Mecklenburg senior plays more than 100 holes, while practicing, playing or working on her fitness for golf, at least five hours a day.

For most of the last three years, all of that hard work has helped Kirk establish herself not only as one of the top golfers in the state, but also as one of the best in the Southeast.

Kirk is ranked No. 2 in the state by, No. 4 in the Carolinas by the Carolina Golf Association, No. 55 in the nation in her class and No. 170 overall in the country by Golfweek.

Kirk, who finished in the top six at the N.C. 4A state meet for North Meck during the past two seasons, is also taking her game to the college level.

Kirk made a verbal commitment to East Carolina and head coach Kevin Williams.

"I chose ECU because I really like the golf program and the school," said Kirk. "The coach is great, and I can tell he really wants to help me succeed and reach my goals. I will be able to make an immediate impact on that team because I will get to play."

While Kirk is looking forward to her time at East Carolina, Kirk still has a lot she wants to accomplish this season for North Meck and on the junior circuit.

"My goals for high-school golf are to win regionals and states," said Kirk, who finished fourth in 2009, and sixth in 2008 at the state meet.

"For junior golf and the next year, I'm trying to be N.C. girls' player of the year."

In the last two months, Kirk has played some of the best golf of her career, her latest victory coming at the Precision Girls Championship earlier this month to claim the Peggy Kirk Bell Tour Order of Merit title. Kirk also competed on the Carolina Junior golf team, which went on to defeat the Virginia-Maryland team, and lost in a playoff at the North-South Junior at Pinehurst.

Kirk's biggest achievement this summer, however, may have been qualifying for the U.S. Girls Junior Championships at the Country Club of North Carolina, one of the biggest tournaments in the country.

While Kirk missed the cut, shooting an 88 her first day before improving that to a 75 the following day, she hopes the experience will help her later, as she tries to qualify for next summer's U.S. Women's Amateur.

"I've had a successful summer, but I want to keep playing well and hopefully achieve all the goals I've set," said Kirk. "I always want to be improving.".