O’Fallon junior Brooke Boatman is helping to lead a deep and talented girls golf team.
The O’Fallon Township High School (OTHS) junior entered Tuesday’s conference match against Alton and Belleville West as the Panther’s number two player.
But the 16-year-old from Shiloh might be one of four Panther players at any given match this fall.
Panther coach Chris Eddy likes what he sees early from his bunch. They entered Tuesday’s tourney with a perfect 5-0 record.
He is equally proud of Boatman, who had a break-out season a year ago. In fact, Boatman scored for the team in all 20 competitions in which she played last fall.
Eddy said Boatman also has one of the best swings in the deep Southwestern Conference.
“Brooke’s No. 1 strength is her ball striking,” he said.
He said Boatman is also extremely intelligent on the golf course and in the classroom.
“Brooke is self driven,” Eddy added.
As a sophomore, Boatman had the second lowest scoring average on the team and scored for O’Fallon in all 21 competitions and helped lead OTHS to the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Overall, Boatman, the daughter of Dan and Patty Boatman, finished ninth all-time in OTHS history in 9-hole scoring average and 10th all time in 18-hole tournament scoring average a year ago.
She has started her 2016 season where she finished in 2015.
And Boatman is now one of the top golfers in southern Illinois.
She finished second at the Alton Invitational only losing to her teammate, Alyssa McMinn.
“Brooke has done an excellent job helping our team reach our current success level,” Eddy said.
Boatman entered Tuesday’s match against Belleville West and Alton averaging about 40 shots per round.
While Boatman is pleased with her great start, she isn’t ready to rest on her laurels.
As she sees it, there is always room to improve her game.
Boatman continues to put in a lot of hard work this summer, where she tried two to three golf matches a week.
She even played on the Junior Pro Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) circuits. The AJGA is dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. Among the AJGA alumnae on the LPGA Tour include: Paula Creamer, Katie Futcher, Julieta Granada, Pat Hurst, Vicky Hurst, Jennifer Johnson, Moriya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, I.K. Kim, Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Paige Mackenzie, Kristy McPherson, Inbee Park, Morgan Pressel and Wendy Ward.: Paula Creamer, Katie Futcher, Julieta Granada, Pat Hurst, Vicky Hurst, Jennifer Johnson, Moriya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, I.K. Kim, Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Paige Mackenzie, Kristy McPherson, Inbee Park, Morgan Pressel and Wendy Ward.
Boatman, who began playing golf in the summer of eighth grade, hopes to earn a college scholarship like her sister, Alexa Boatman. Alexa is now ranked as the number one player on the University of Central Missouri girls golf team. Alexa was earliera Second Team All-Southwestern Conference in 2011. During her senior year at OTHS, Alexa earned first team All-Southwestern Conference accolades.