News & ToursJuly 24, 2008

Caddie's Diary: U.S. Girls' Junior Golf Ch. (Day 3)

*Jon Terbell is a summer intern at Golf Digest and will be a senior this fall at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Jon is caddieing for San Diego native Beth Sellers at the U.S. Girls' Junior Golf Championship at The Hartford Golf Club this week.

*WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- It ended up not being our week: Beth Sellers and I are headed home after the 36-hole cut at the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship. Because we were the last group of the second round to tee off, we had a good idea of what we needed to shoot to make the cut. After a first-round 76, Beth likely needed a 74 or better to advance to match play on Wednesday. She was confident as she began her round, but the knack for grinding out pars that she showed on the first day had deserted her.

At the beginning of the week Beth told me that she was "independent." She didn't want too much help. "I won't even listen to my father, and he knows me inside-out," she said. Listen, as someone who spent his childhood caddieing at the Country Club of Fairfield in Connecticut, my philosophy is to not offer advice unless asked. So for the two days I caddied for Beth at the Girls' Junior, I gave her yardages, made a comment about the wind and got out of her way.

Playing on my college team in the Hartford area I've come to know the Hartford Golf Club well, and I thought that I could give Beth some much-needed local knowledge. There were times I wanted to make a suggestion, but I respected her wishes. One of Beth's greatest strengths is the ability to commit to a shot and make an aggressive swing without worrying about the dangers-a skill all golfers need to learn. When a shot would go astray, Beth would flash a grin and say "Oh, shucks." But she also showed an aversion to prudent decisions off the tee, opting for the "I'm going to bomb it over trouble" approach. This ultimately proved costly: Beth hit just 11 fairways during her two rounds and finished nine strokes off the cut (76-84-160).

Nevertheless, I can't really criticize Beth for playing this way. To score your best you need to play your game-the game that got you there in the first place. To change your strategy and personality as soon as you reach where you've been trying to go is foolish. Despite a disappointing result, Beth is entering her senior year of high school and has a number of options to play in college. Though she indicated to me she wants to stay on the West Coast. The college that lands her will be getting a great person and player. I enjoyed being on her team this week.

-- Jon Terbell**

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