It’s been a great year for Merrillville’s Maggie Connelly.
The gifted senior has collected five medalist honors throughout the season and tied Valpo’s Harley Dubsky in a 9-hole match a few weeks ago.
She’ll continue her stellar season at Saturday’s Valparaiso Sectional.
“I’m really looking forward to her making a run to the regional this year,” Merrillville coach Patti Tubbs said. “I think last year was a fluke.”
Connelly shot a 110 a year ago, failing to advance after been a regional qualifier as a sophomore.
“My junior year I kind of fell apart at sectional and did not advance,” she said.
Connelly said the difference this year is that’s she’s more relaxed and having fun, because she used to put so much pressure on herself.
“Every shot had to be perfect,” she said.
Now she doesn’t let the bad shots get her down.
“Partly because I’ve been playing better than I have been. I’m starting to enjoy the game more,” Connelly said.
The turning point might have been shooting a 75 at Sandy Pines in a summer tournament.
“It kind of opened by eyes,” she said. “I kinda got it. Then the 37 and 38 have helped me realize I can do it.”
The 37 tied her with Dubsky for medalist honors in a dual meet at Summertree.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. I just tied Harley Dubsky,’” Connelly said. “It was an awesome feeling.
“Oh, OK, now I can do it. If you can tie Harley Dubsky, you can do anything in my book.”
Tubbs said Connelly has been consistently shooting in the upper 30s in 9-hole matches. She shot an 85 at the Battle Ground Golf Course -- the regional site -- in an invitational a week and a half ago.
“She’s more at ease on the golf course, and she’s really starting to own the game,” Tubbs said. “Before she played against herself. When she had a bad shot, she would carry it with her.
“Now, she’s able to shake it off, and that’s allowed her to take strokes off her game.”
Connelly also excels off the course. She carries a 3.54 GPA and is ranked 51st in her class of 540.
Tubbs said she’s a natural leader.
“She just a real good girl all around,” Tubbs said. “She has a lovely, outgoing personality.”
Connelly just wants to keep the season rolling.
“I feel like I play my best golf when I have fun,” she said. “The goal is to have as much fun as I can.”