One of the top Class A high school golfers in the state for the last two years, Althoff senior Gabby David has never been one to back down from a challenge.
So when the Crusaders’ top player was narrowing her college choices a couple of weeks ago, it was a challenge to compete at a high level at Lewis University that helped David make her choice.
“I made my visit to Lewis about two weeks ago and I liked it from the first minute I stepped on the campus,” David said. “It’s a nice size, probably about 5,000 students and I really liked the coaching staff.
“It’s also a very good golf program. It’s very competitive and one where I’ll really have to work hard in order to make the traveling squad. I like that.”
A member of the Class A all-state team after placing eighth in the state finals earlier this fall, David also considered Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois University before deciding to Lewis University in Romeoville.
An NCAA Division II school, Lewis is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference for women’s golf.
While David is glad to have her choice out of the way, the Lewis University coaching staff is getting a player who has been one of the best players in the metro-east area during the past four years. Both a four-time first team all-South Seven Conference and Belleville News-Democrat Class A first team all-area selection, David is also a three-time Class A State Tournament qualifier, having placed 16th as a sophomore and 30th as a junior.
This past season, David won five tournament championships, including the Class A regional crown, and finished with a scoring average of 37.2 for nine holes and 78 for 18 holes.
“And you are talking about a young lady who has basically been playing the game for only five years. He dad (Dale) is the head professional the Orchards and one day he took her out and hit golf balls with her. She fell in love with the sport and now I guess you can say the rest is history,” Althoff coach Tim Gehrs said. “I’ve had the chance to walk with her at the state tournament the last three years and I am amazed at her knowledge of the game.
“Part of that, I’m sure comes from her dad being a teaching professional. But she has picked a lot of it up on her own as well. She could have chosen five or six schools, but she’s got a nice scholarship and she’s going to get to play with a very strong golf program.”
David plans on majoring in biology with the hope of a career in the medical field. But for the next four years she hopes to dissect a few golf courses.
“My golf clubs are resting,” David said smiling. “I haven’t played much since the end of the school season but my dad said I can take a break for a couple of more weeks then we’ll get back at it.
“I’ve thought about the cold weather, but we play all over in the Spring. I know they play at events in California, Florida, South Carolina... placed where it’s warm. If I can shoot consistently in the low 80s, I’ll play. It will probably take averaging 78-79 to play in the top two.”
And how does David need to improve her game? Around the green.
“That’s probably the one area I need to improve the most. My putting and being able to chip and also be able to get up-and-down from 75-100 yards,” David said.