Sixteen-year-old Kristin Swindell had been preparing for the U.S. Open Women’s Qualifier at River Wilderness Golf and Country Club in Ellenton for weeks.
The ins and outs of the 18-hole course were fresh in her mind, and the Braden River High sophomore was eager to go out and face the competition — only Swindell’s immune system had other ideas. On May 20, Swindell woke up under the weather — forcing her to pull out of the qualifier.
“I played the course the day before, and I was really looking forward to it,” Swindell said. “It was a one day tournament and (unfortunately) I got sick.”
Just three days earlier, Swindell shot a 74 to win the Greater Sarasota Junior Golf Association’s Glenn McClain Memorial Winter Tournament Series, 18-hole division May 17 at Bradenton Country Club.
“It was exciting,” Swindell said. “It was just more for experience (than anything else).”
Swindell began playing golf when she was 11 years old and quickly took to the sport. Swindell practices for several hours every day either at the Founders Golf Club in Sarasota, where she trains, or at home in Heritage Harbour.
“It’s really fun, and I like that it’s competitive,” Swindell said of golf. “I like the competition — it’s exciting.”
Over the years, Swindell has become one of the top female junior golfers in the area, reaching the Class 1A state golf championships as a freshman.
Swindell chose not to play for the Lady Pirates last fall, but she admits she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning.
“High school golf is a good experience because you get to play with a team,” Swindell said. “It’s exciting to play with other girls and they’re all really nice.”
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