Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2012, 10:25 pm

2012-13 Dispatch/Argus Girls' Golfer of the Year: Rock Island's Laurel Enstrom

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By Tom Johnston,

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Welvaert
Rock Island senior and 2012-13 Dispatch Argus girls golfer of the year Laurel Enstrom.
Rock Island's Laurel Enstrom said she felt as if her prep golf career finished unfulfilled.

That had nothing to do with her accomplishments in the four short years she has been playing the game. She went from never swinging a club in her life -- and not even knowing whether to play left-handed or right-handed when she did begin -- to being a state qualifier as a senior.

Nope, it had everything to do with this year's Girls' Golfer of the Year for The Dispatch and the Rock Island Argus not finishing her career in the manner she had planned. That was because she really didn't get to finish it. The second day of the state meet at Decatur's Hickory Point Golf Course in was called because of thunderstorms.

"I was heartbroken," said Enstrom. "I never dreamed that the first day of state would be the round I would be going off on. I thought I would have two days and I was looking toward a nice two-day score. I was playing well the second day."

She was even par through four holes when the second round was called. It left her finishing tied for 46th after an opening 84.

"It felt like I wasn't done," said Enstrom.

Instead, Enstrom's golf career continues after accepting a scholarship from St. Cloud (Minn.) State. Before that, though, she tackles some questions after being named Golfer of the Year.

How satisfying was this season?
"Honestly, I accomplished everything I wanted to this season. I had a very successful season and really couldn't ask for more."

You lost two postseason playoffs for medalist honors – at the Western Big 6 meet and at the Normal U-High Sectional. With time to reflect on those, what did losing those mean to you?
"At Western Big 6, I was angry with myself and had a bitter feeling inside. But I took that anger and pushed myself to work and used the energy to make it to state. ... My sectional playoff, I honestly didn't care that I lost that because I was so ecstatic I was going to state and didn't just sneak by.''

You played some really long rounds this season, including a nearly 7-hour round at state. How do you keep yourself focused during those?
"This is going to sound crazy, but sometimes I start singing to myself and sometimes to other people. It's funny because I can't sing – my parents always tell me I am bad, but I think I'm a musical genius. ... For a while I would sing 'I'm a Little Teapot.'"

What do you ultimately want to get out of the game of golf?
"A life sport. It's something that I can always do. And it's something I can go and do and forget about my troubles. It's something that I do to blow off steam. I really love the game of golf; it intrigues me so much.''

What's your best golfing memory?
"Getting to play in the John Deere Classic pro-am as a guest of the local (Chevrolet) dealers. I played with Ryan Moore and had fun joking with his caddie. I really liked the aspect of having a crowd applaud for you. I technically got two hole-in-ones that day – I birdied two par 3s (Nos. 3 and 16) and with my handicap got 1s on those holes. ... Ryan Moore's caddie really sparked something inside me. He said it would be a shame if you didn't continue with your golf career and stopped after high school. He inspired me, but he probably doesn't know it wherever he is."

Players of the Year

2012: Laurel Enstrom, Rock Island
2011: Justine Peel, Monmouth United
2010: Iben Thuroe, Mid-County
2009: Abby Frideres & Courtney Gieseman, Alleman
2008: Kelsey Lieving, Geneseo
2007: Jaleesa Burton, Monmouth-Roseville
2006: Morgan Joseph, Moline
2005: Morgan Joseph, Moline
2004: Ana North, Rock Island (B&G combined)
2003: Laura Westensee, Rock Island
2002: Boys & Girls combined