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Grier seeks girls state golf title

October 22, 2000|By DAN KAUFFMAN

Grier seeks girls state golf title



Smithsburg High School junior Ashley Grier doesn't mind being a girl in a sport that, at least on the local high school level, is dominated by boys.

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"I'd like more girls to play golf, but it's still good competition with the guys," Grier said.

It seems Ashley is only too happy to prove that, when it comes to golf, she can hold her own with anyone.

As the only girl in the Washington County championships, held at Black Rock Golf Course in September, Grier shot a 6-over-par 78 and finished third among the 36 individuals.

As the only girl in the West Regional championships, also at Black Rock three weeks ago, Grier fired a 2-over 74 (even-par from the ladies' tees), well below the 103 needed to qualify for the Maryland Golf Championships. She finished second among the 90 individuals.

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Competing with the boys? Not really, because, while the golfers all played at the same time, there was a separate qualifying standards for the boys - the 10 lowest scores, as well as the teams from Walkersville and Middletown, which qualified for team tournament.

"It's not even an issue to her," Ashley's father, Dave Grier, said.

Ashley Grier will get her chance to compete with the girls today, when play begins in the two-day MGC at the University of Maryland.

Smithsburg's Seiji Hirai, as well as Williamsport's Steve Miles and Mike Griffee, will compete for the boys individual crown.

As for Ashley Grier, it's her third shot at the girls individual crown, and her best one yet.

"She made it to states two years ago ... she went down there, shot 105 or something like that," Dave Grier said.

"There were about 15 girls down there, and she wasn't in contention at all. Last year (on the first day), she shot an 88, and the leaders were all around 90. She was right there within two strokes of the lead (on the second day) before she made a 9 on a par-4."

Ashley continues to make huge strides.

"Her stroke average is down about 10 strokes just in the past year," Ashley's mother, Judy Grier, said. That improvement has made Ashley one of the favorites this week.

Of course, it helps when your backyard is a golfing range.

The Griers are the owners of Yingling's Golf Center, where Ashley Grier has honed her skills since she first picked up a club at age 6.

"I first did it just because I lived here and it was something to do," she said. "After I got to being 13 or 14, I started liking it, and I wanted to get better."

"She just had the advantage living here, being able to practice," Dave Grier said. "The advantage she has is way above the average advantage playing a sport."

Thanks to her talent, Ashley Grier has had the opportunity to travel to various golf tournaments. She participated in the Mid-Atlantic Junior Tour the past two summers, winning four of five tournaments in 2000 and earning Mid-Atlantic PGA player of the year honors for girls ages 15 to 18.

Two weeks ago, Ashley Grier was part of a Beaver Creek Country Club team that finished sixth at the Oldsmobile Scramble in Orlando, Fla.

"It's fun, because I get to go to different places," she said. "I got to go to Florida and Ocean City and a bunch of places in Virginia."

Ashley and her parents have their eyes set on college and a possible full scholarship.

"North Carolina State just started a women's golf program. They gave out six full scholarships, so we know they're out there," Dave Grier said.

For that goal to become a reality, Ashley knows her improvement must continue. A victory on Tuesday wouldn't hurt, either.

"I'm a whole lot better this year, I know I have a good chance to win," she said. "It's just whether I play well or not. ... A lot of college scouts will be there looking. Hopefully, I keep improving."

And if Ashley Grier does pull out a state championship, will she be happier than her parents?

"I'll be pretty happy, but I'm sure they'll be just as happy too," she said.

"She'll get a big hug, that's for sure," Dave Grier said.

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