“I’ve always felt like the underdog,” says Emily Tubert, who began playing golf just five years ago.
She’s the underdog no longer, however, because the recent graduate of Burroughs (Burbank, Calif.) shocked the nation last weekend by winning the prestigious U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship with a 3 and 2 victory over collegian Lisa McCloskey at the University of Notre Dame. It marked her eleventh round in a hectic seven-day period.
“At this point it feels a little unreal,” she said of her surprise championship. “There are a lot of big names on the trophy. It definitely gives me the feeling of belonging with these girls. (After the tourney) I had 44 new text messages.”
The rising star, who won her first AJGA event in early May, had a modest goal – make it through the 36-hole qualifying round to reach match play for the first time in her career. That mission was easily accomplished with a one-under-par score of 141, which placed her fifth in the 156-player field.
McCloskey actually was 2-up at the end of five holes.
“I had some pretty ugly shots early. It was all nerves right there,” Tubert said. “I knew there was a lot of golf yet to be played.”
From holes 6 through 12, the athletic, 5-foot-11 Californian - whose drives soar up to 270 yards - blitzed her more experienced opponent with five birdies and two pars to go 5-up at the end of 12 holes. She never trailed during the remaining 24 holes.
“I just kind of settled into my game and made some key putts,” she said.
Tubert, who was a straight-A student, is a very unique individual. She grew up playing basketball, volleyball and softball and also dabbled in many other sports. She even quarterbacked her powder puff football team.
She admits she lost some friends when she elected to specialize in a new sport – golf – as an eighth grader.
“Why play golf? You’re not very good at it,” her friends complained.
She obviously loves challenges because she entered Burroughs as the No. 1 golfer during her freshman year, maintained that spot for four years and was captain the final three years. She also is the first girl from her school to win a CIF Southern Section title in any sport.
Her appearance on the scene as a freshman encouraged Burroughs coach Mike Krose to postpone retirement and stick around for another four years.
“Her work ethic is incredible and she is very coachable,” Krose pointed out. “She is a fantastic athlete.
“When she got to Burroughs, I was taller and better. Now I’m shorter (5-10) and she’s really better. I told her we’ve graduated together (because he did retire in May).”
Meanwhile, Tubert, who has signed with the University of Arkansas, is playing on her future home course (Blessings Golf Club in Johnson, Ark.) this week at the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions.
“It is the hardest golf course I’ve ever played in my life,” says Tubert, who not only doesn’t back down from challenges but continually seeks them out. “You’re going to get better.”
5-foot-3 runner dominates
Though he’s just 5-foot-3 and 160 pounds, Tim Johnson left his mark on the annual Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star football game. The North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) running back set game records by returning kickoffs for touchdowns of 100 and 95 yards (the 36-year-old record was 94 yards) while leading the East to a 45-21 victory over the West.
The game’s MVP also scored on runs of 42 and three yards to tie game records for touchdowns and points. He will attend Langston University (Langston, Okla.).
* Due to a lack of interested in-state opponents, Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, Minn.) will split its team to play a pair of games on Sept. 3 in Canada. The games will be against Oak Park and Vincent Massey in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The six-time Class 5A state champions had to get a waiver to exceed Minnesota’s 600-mile round-trip travel limit.
* Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.) rising junior defensive end Arik Armstead (6-7, 270) has made a commitment to the University of Southern California, according to the Sacramento Bee. He also has been offered a chance to play basketball for the Trojans.
* Plantation (Plantation, Fla.) linebacker Ryan Shazier (6-2, 205) has made a commitment to the University of Florida, according to the Sun-Sentinel. He had 87 tackles as a junior.
* Circle (Towanda, Kan.) rising senior defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (6-6, 300) has committed to the University of Oklahoma, according to the Wichita Eagle.
Dallas Stars pick prep goalie
Port Huron (Port Huron, Mich.) goalie Jack Campbell was the first American taken in the National Hockey League draft, going at No. 11 to the Dallas Stars. The 6-3, 175-pounder helped the U.S. win the gold medal in the 2010 World Junior Championships by stopping 32 of 34 shots during the overtime victory against Canada.
Other high school players taken in the first round included: Nick Bjugstad of Blaine (Blaine, Minn.), No. 19 by the Florida Panthers; Jarred Tinordi of the U.S. National Under-18 team, No. 22 by the Montreal Canadians; Kevin Hayes of Noble & Greenough (Dedham, Mass.), No. 24 by the Chicago Blackhawks; and Brock Nelson of Warroad (Warroad, Minn.), No. 30 by the New York Islanders.
* Mahtomedi (Mahtomedi, Minn.) standout defenseman Ben Marshall will skip his senior year to play for the Omaha Lancers of the U.S. Hockey League. Marshall, who had 20 goals and 39 assists as a junior, is one of the country’s top players and has committed to the University of Minnesota.
USA women win gold
The USA Women’s Under-18 basketball team crushed Brazil, 81-38, to finish 5-0 and win the gold medal for the fourth straight time in the FIBA Americas U18 championships at Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
MaxPreps National Player of the Year Chiney Ogwumike paced the balanced Americans with a 13.2 scoring average. The champs averaged 93.4 points in five games with a huge winning margin of 55.8.
* The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that one of Kentucky’s premier basketball players, Kendall Noble, has transferred from Breathitt County (Jackson, Ky.) to Perry County Central (Hazard, Ky.). The 5-10 guard averaged 20.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.9 steals and 4.3 assists as a sophomore.
* McClave (McClave, Colo.) has fired girls basketball coach Dick Peecher, who compiled a 241-23 record with four Class A state titles. His record includes a state-record 78-game winning streak.
Pfeifer named No. 1 pitcher
Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.) junior Philip Peifer has been named National Pitcher of the Year by Louisville Slugger. The talented left-hander posted a 16-0 record this year while leading Farragut to its third consecutive Class AAA state title. He struck out 165, walked 26 and compiled a 1.23 ERA in 96 1/3 innings.
Already committed to Vanderbilt University, Pfeifer struck out 14 and yielded just one hit in the state-championship game.
* Jay (Jay, Okla.) graduate Cayle Shambaugh made a shambles of the Heartland Classic in Norman, Okla. The University of Oklahoma signee batted 7-for-11 during the tourney with two walk-off home runs and a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts.
Sparked by MVP Bo Way, Georgia won the title with a 12-6 victory over Maryland.
* Despite the handicap of deafness, junior Brandon Holsworth pitched Beal City (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) to a 5-0 victory over Lake Michigan Catholic (St. Joseph, Mich.) in the Division 4 state-championship baseball game. Over 5 2/3 innings, he allowed four hits, no walks and struck out eight.
Holsworth, who has a sign language interpreter with him, told Detroit News sportswriter Tom Markowski, “When I’m pitching, it’s important for me to look to see where the fly ball goes. That’s the hardest part. That’s it. Everything else is fine.”
* Owasso (Owasso, Okla.) standout pitcher Dylan Bundy has made a commitment to the University of Texas, according to the Tulsa World. As a junior, he posted an 11-1 record with 1.58 ERA. He also batted .442 and drove in 58 runs. He is expected to be a top pro draft pick next spring.
* Rich Hofman, who coached future pros Alex Rodriguez and Doug Mientkiewicz at Westminster Christian (Miami, Fla.), has been named head baseball coach at University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). He has a career record of 965-246 with two national and 10 state titles.
Gatorade honors Crouser
Gresham (Gresham, Ore.) standout Sam Crouser, who broke the national javelin record twice this spring, has been named Gatorade’s National Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
* Morgann LeLeux missed the national girls pole vault record by 1.25 inches when she soared an even 14 feet during the Quintana Beach Vault in Quintana Beach,Texas. The Catholic (New Iberia, La.) star did set a national junior-class record and is tied with three others for No. 2 overall in outdoor history.
* Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times reports that boys basketball powerhouse Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) is quickly reloading to offset major graduation losses. Xavier Johnson, a 6-6 rising junior, has transferred from Chaparral (Temecula, Calif.). Stanley Johnson (6-6) and Shagguan Aaron (6-5) are promising incoming freshmen.
* Charlotte Latin (Charlotte, N.C.), which posted a 20-0 record, has been named girls national spring champion by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The national boys title went to Gainesville (Gainesville, Ga.), which had a 19-0 record.