Courtney Nunnely headed to state tournament in Battle Creek
Courtney Nunnely made history a week ago when she became Alpena’s first girl’s regional golf overall champion when she carded an 81 and defeated Skyler Henry of Swartz Creek in a playoff tie break at Currie Country Club in Midland.
A week after capturing a regional title, Nunnely now focuses her attention on the Michigan High School Girl’s Golf State Finals that begins today at Bedford Valley Golf Club in Battle Creek.
“All of this has kind of been like a dream. I never though it would happen and I just went out and played my game and eventually won regionals,” Nunnely said. “The fact that I was able to do that is crazy. I did this for Alpena because all I’ve ever said was that the name on the front is more important than the name on the back and the fact that I was the one that did it at Alpena, is unbelievable.”
A regional championship never comes easy and it may have been even more difficult considering the way Nunnely won.
The first hole was her worst of the day, but as the day went on, despite playing on and cold and windy day, Nunnely began to heat up. Nunnely kept things simple and had several pars along with a few bogeys on the day and avoided any major challenges until the 16th hole.
Nunnely’s drive found the edge of the woods which resulted in a 30 minute delay while officials figured out a ruling for her situation. Nunnely decided to take an unplayable penalty and was faced with a make or break moment and she delivered with the shot of the tournament from the cart path to score a five on the par four.
“I needed to hit the perfect shot to keep it under the tree and I was able to keep it under the tree and put the ball about 100 yards away from the hole and ended up two putting for bogey which kept me alive for regionals,” Nunnely said.
After entering the scoring area, Nunnely had no idea that she had tied for the overall tournament lead and needed to prepare for a playoff.
Fortunately for Nunnely, the first playoff hole came of number 10 which she had just finished playing.
“I had the upper hand playing hole 10 and knowing my driver put me in a bunch of trees. Instead of using my driver, I pulled out my four hybrid instead, knowing it might be a little bit short, but it was going to be down the middle,” Nunnely said. “My opponent used a driver and she ended in the trees and I was right down the middle. In the end we exchanged putts, but I was able to win by one.”
There is so much that makes this achievement special. The fact that Alpena didn’t have a girl’s golf program four years ago and to now have a regional champion says a lot about what head coach Mike Nunnely and the entire Wildcat roster.
Courtney Nunnely was a major contributor in getting the Alpena High School girl’s golf program up and running again during her sophomore year.
“Not being able to play high school golf during my freshman year was awful. I wanted so badly to have a girl’s golf team and we tried our hardest to get girls to come and try out which meant finding girls who had never even played golf before,” Nunnely said. “Not only for me to go from a low end golfer to a regional champion is insane, but what’s even more special is watching the girls I’ve played with grow and how much better they are now.”
Nunnely has been golfing since the age of three and has spent time improving her game over the years, but has also dedicated her time to be involved in many other activities.
A regional title and trip to the state tournament couldn’t have come at a better time as Nunnely will celebrate her senior year with an opportunity that many high school athletes don’t get the opportunity to do and that is play for a state championship.
“Courtney is a very naturally gifted golfer. She has not scratched the surface of what she can achieve, but she is also multidimensional and she has a variety of interests and a variety of skills. She hasn’t focused her attention on one specific passion, but now she has a glimpse into what her potential is and she has always had that potential because she has played since such a young age,” Mike Nunnely said. “She has the skills to do well at the state tournament, it just depends on if it’s the right time and place for her because you never know what is going to happen on any given day. We’re going to go down there and have fun. We’re going to hit the ball, find the ball and when it’s puttable, we’re going to putt the ball and see what happens at the end of the day.”