Alyssa McMinn entered this season as the number four player on a deep and talented O’Fallon girls golf team.
But don’t let her preseason ranking fool you.
McMinn is off to a torrid pace early this fall.
The O’Fallon Progress Athlete of the Week has already climbed to the Panthers no. 1 spot after two strong tourneys to start the season.
McMinn, who is now in her third year of competitive golf, played bogey-free golf as she finished with a 1-under par 35 to lead the way as the Panthers repeated as champions at the Goalby-Haas Invitational on Thursday at St. Clair Country Club.
She followed this tourney with a second-place finish at Saturday’s Mascoutah’s Invitational held at The Hills Golf Club in Lebanon. McMinn, who has played golf for only three seasons, led the Panthers with a 7-over-par 79, earning her a three-way tie for second.
A standout soccer player in addition to excelling on the links, McMinn made a 10-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole to go along with eight pars as she coasted to a seven-stroke win over teammate Emily Marrs for her first-ever individual title on Thursday.
McMinn, who never won a golf match before this fall, said she is even surprised by her strong start.
“I was actually very nervous because I came out here (St. Clair) for a practice round and played just terrible,” she said.
“I had no idea I was going to play this well,” she said. “I just tried to hit fairways and greens. It was a good day.”
And to think McMinn’s dad introduced her to the game only a couple years ago.
But McMinn is now considering a golf career in college.
“I think playing golf in college would be a lot of fun,” she said.
On Saturday, McMinn matched the her of best 18-hole score of her young career.
O’Fallon coach Chris Eddy said he likes what he sees early this season from McMinn.
“Alyssa has such a strong competitive desire, “ he said.
She also continues to work hard to hone her golf skills, Eddy added.
Put those two things together with athletic ability, you have a successful golf player.
“I think she’s going to perform at a high level all season,” Eddy said.
As it is, McMinn might be best putter on a deep and talented Panthers’ golf team, according to Eddy.
Eddy also likes McMinn’s short game.
Last fall, McMinn she helped lead O’Fallon finished 12th at state in Class AA, which surprised McMinn and her teammates.
But Eddy said the finish was just about as he expected.
This fall, Eddy and McMinn have set the Panthers’ bar even higher.
“I’m hoping we can return to state this fall, and improve on our finish,” she said.