Morgan Reece knew this summer would be the “make it or break it” season to determine her future in golf. So far, she’s been able to make it through more than one tournament with a win.
The most recent victory for the Gainesville High rising senior came at the University of Georgia Junior Amateur on Tuesday in Athens, where Reece carded a 167 to win the 15-18-year-old division by three strokes and was the overall winner by a single stroke, securing her place in the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur Championship to be held July 22-27 at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.
“This is the first summer that I’ve won two trophies,” Reece said. “I was second overall at Royal Lakes last week, and first in my division, so that was my first Southeastern (Junior Golf Tour) win. This was my first two-day tournament win.”
Having never competed in the UGA tournament before, Reece didn’t have any specific expectations, but she knew it would be a challenge.
“I knew several of the girls, so I knew it would be a good field, but I don’t really have high expectations,” Reece said.
The course, however, proved to be even more challenging than her competitors after days of consistent rain.
“The course was really, really wet,” she mentioned. “It’s rained so much that the distance was maybe about 500 yards further because your ball would hit the ground and just stop.”
The conditions posed problems for the entire field early on, but Reece was able to adapt and flourish under adverse conditions.
“I was concerned about reaching the greens,” Reece said. “I don’t usually hit the ball very far, so keeping it on the fairway and making the putts was the biggest thing.”
Even before and after she became acclimated to the course, however, Reece continued to experience a few light-hearted moments during her first UGA Junior Amateur that will make the two-day event even more memorable.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing!” Reece said. “I didn’t know where to check in or sign my scorecard, and at the end I ended up getting two trophies and I didn’t know why until they explained that one was for winning my division and the other was for being the overall winner.”
One thing Reece certainly knew was how to get a lead and keep it against the tough field.
“We had three holes to go and I was three shots ahead in my group and one or two shots ahead to win the entire thing,” Reece said. “And I’ve learned that if I can keep my head in it and intimidate the other girls, I
can usually keep my lead.”
Now, Reece will continue to focus on her game to prepare for the U.S. Girls Championship along with weighing her options for college.
“I’m looking at a lot of Division II and NAIA schools, small-to-medium sized ones that are Christian based,” she said. “I have a lot of opportunities out there. I haven’t made up my mind about one school yet.”