South Whidbey’s Kolby Heggenes chips on on to the green on the first hole at Useless Bay Golf and Country Club in Langley during a match last April. (Evan Thompson / The Record)

South Whidbey’s Kolby Heggenes chips on on to the green on the first hole at Useless Bay Golf and Country Club in Langley during a match last April. (Evan Thompson / The Record)

Prep golf preview: South Whidbey senior aiming at state title

Kolby Heggenes placed second at the 1A state tournament as a sophomore and as a junior.

There’s no doubt that Kolby Heggenes is a talented athlete; her achievements on the volleyball and basketball courts at South Whidbey High School during the past four years will attest to that fact.

But her success in golf is especially intriguing. Unlike a lot of girls that she’s played against, Heggenes hasn’t had the chance to focus exclusively on golf thanks to her commitments to other sports.

But when she’s on the golf course, she’s “pretty motivated,” according to Garth Heggenes, Kolby’s father and coach. “During the season, she really gets into it. She enjoys seeing herself get better.”

“I think I could improve my game if I played year-round,” Kolby said, “but I do think that I’ve gained qualities from the other sports that some of those other girls might not have. It’s worked out for me.”

It sure has. Kolby has become one of the best girls golfers in the area regardless of classification.

As a sophomore, she finished second at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association 1A state tournament. Last year, she once again finished second at the 1B/2B/1A state meet.

Kolby’s interest in golf “developed later in life,” she said.

“I didn’t realize I could actually excel until the state meet sophomore year,” she said. “(Finishing second) was a shock to myself and everyone else. Last year I was more focused and held myself to a higher expectation.”

“She’s a natural athlete,” Garth said, “but her success (in golf) was a bit of a surprise. She got going as a freshman and hit the ball well, but she really took off toward the end of her sophomore year. Right now, (winning the state tournament) is kind of the goal. She’d probably have a tough time saying that, but that is her goal.”

Kolby agreed with her father, although she added that her other priorities are more intrinsic in nature.

“That’s always the goal, of course, to be in that No. 1 spot. I’d love to win the state title; wouldn’t we all?” she said. “But I just want to be the best player I can be. That’s really my goal going into this year. I just want to improve as much as I can.”

In order to do that, Kolby — who shot mostly between 76 and 82 last year — is focusing on improving her short game.

“She drives the ball pretty well,” Garth said, “but where she lacks a bit is 50 yards and in. If she can get that together, she’ll be just fine. It just takes time around the green to improve, and she hasn’t had a ton of time that other players have had.”

Kolby is planning on attending Washington State University, and while she’d like to continue playing, she’s currently undecided about trying to walk on to the women’s golf team.

When she’s not in school or playing sports, Kolby might be found riding her quarterhorse, Madison.

“I’ve ridden ever since I was little,” she said. “My great-aunt and uncle live next door, and they used to have a little pony that I would ride. I got (Madison) a few years ago, and she stays with them. It’s a sweet deal. I stay pretty local (when I ride) — just down the road or in the pasture.

“I enjoy learning the horse’s personality. I click with mine. I love to go out there and get away from sports; (riding) takes my mind away from everything else. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Madison. She’s a little pistol — kind of like me.”

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