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Girl breaks into boys' club

September 29, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

SAINT JAMES - Kimberly Eaton has held one of the top spots on the Saint James School golf team for three years.

"It is an oddity," golf coach and assistant golf professional Tim Armstrong said of the 17-year-old's presence on the boys team.

Girls who are interested in golf are few and far between, Armstrong said, so girls teams are rare at the high school level.

He had to fight to get Kimberly on the team four years ago when she was a freshman.

"I had to say, 'Look, this girl can play,'" Armstrong said. "She can honestly play."

Now a senior, Kimberly has been offered a full tuition scholarship to college. She could not disclose which college offered the scholarship because she is still considering other offers.

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Wellesley College, Mount Holyoke College and Wake Forest University are her top choices, she said.

"I don't want to play pro, but definitely in college," the daughter of Linda and John Eaton of Shepherdstown, W.Va., said.

She wants to study biology and either go into research or become a veterinarian, she said.

John Eaton first took his daughter to a driving range when she was 10. She was so small that he had to make clubs from parts that he ordered.

"I basically copied what he was doing. He gave me some pointers: how to hold the club, how to line up to the target," she said.

"She is a competitive person. She wanted to go into the driving range to see how far she could hit it," John Eaton said. "From the very first ball that she hit, she hit it very well."

When she was 12, Kimberly started playing in tournaments. Now, the daughter sometimes beats the father when they play friendly rounds.

Kimberly won the last three Washington County Junior Golf Championships, was second in the West Virginia Junior Amateur this year and is a three-time club champion at Cress Creek Country Club in Shepherdstown.

The lowest round of her golfing career is 71 on a par-72 course at the Kiskiack Golf Club in Williamsburg, Va., during a Middle Atlantic PGA Junior tournament that she won this summer.

"It's the only sport where it's a mental game more than physical," she said.

Good technique, mental endurance and physical endurance are marks of a good golfer, she said.

Tiger Woods is her favorite professional golfer.

"He's so far above the rest of the field, and also very oriented toward charity for children," she said.

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