When April McCoy was entering the ninth grade, she had to make some important decisions regarding her athletic future. She loved volleyball, and also played basketball and golf. Three sports were too many to juggle and her dad Darron, who also is her golf instructor, encouraged her to make a commitment to one.
Even though she loved playing volleyball, she had to weigh the pros and cons of the sports and chose golf because ''I can go a lot farther in golf than in volleyball.'' Maybe a fractured wrist and finger sustained while playing volleyball also helped make up her mind.
So far, that decision seems to have been a wise one for the 17-year-old from Creekview High School in Carrollton. April, last year's runner-up in the FWJGA Girls City Junior Golf Championship, added a nice notch to her list of golf achievements by winning the 2010 tournament by a runaway 13 shots on Wednesday. She closed the 54-hole tournament with a 2-over-par 72 at Rockwood Golf Course for a 54-hole total of 222. Playing from the white tees at each course, she had opened with a 73 at Diamond Oaks C.C., followed by a 77 at Glen Garden G&CC to give her an 8-shot lead heading into Rockwood. The main drama then was who would finish second.
Courtney Radford, 18, of Allen and who's Dallas Baptist bound, took the runner-up spot by carding a 77 for a 135 total, nipping Brianna Murray, 17, of Southlake, who closed with a 76 and a 236.
There were 142 who had registered for the tournament, a record number for the event that began in 1974 and continues to be a free for participants, thanks to the generosity of the City of Fort Worth and the participating country clubs, which dnate the use of their courses.
While Courtney and Brianna were battling for second place, April was continuing padding her lead as her confidence built. April said about the only time she felt some pressure came on the second day at Glen Garden after she had built a four-shot lead at Diamond Oaks with a 73. ''Four shots is nothing, so I felt a little pressure'' in the second round. After padding the lead to eight, though, she felt comfortable for her title quest and she felt good about her game.
''Ball striking was real well today... but putting wasn't happening. I had a lot good putts that just went right to the edge... I came up short a lot. But it was good enough to win,'' she said.
Even though April is from Carrollton, she said winning the Fort Worth title means a lot to her because, ''This is like my home town pretty much because I know everybody here. It feels so good. It means a lot. This is going to be a big confidence builder. I shot really good this week.''
She already had recorded an impressive season by tying for fifth in the 5A state tournament this past season and tying for first with a three-day total of 218 in the Under Armor/Hunter Mahan AJGA tournament this summer. She lost a playoff for the title, but that didn't diminish her effort.
But back to that big decision that kept the clubs in her hands rather than a volleyball. ''Coming into high school, it's really hard to play both sports. My dad wanted me to commit to one of them, and in golf I can go a lot farther than volleyball, So, I picked golf and glad I did,'' she said.
Fortunately, she didn't have to make the decision about which sport to play a few years earlier. When she started playing golf at nine, April did it only because her dad wanted her to play and conceded that. she ``hated golf. I hated it,'' April said. ''But when I got to be 13 or 14, I took it seriously. I decided that I'm putting so much time into it, I might as well do something worthwhile with it.''
Her dad, Darron, also serves as her instructor and April says that relationship sometimes has been hard because 'it is my daaad.'' She said sometimes has wondered if he was giving her correct instructions because ''he's not an actual pro.'' But he has played golf for about 20 years and has studied the golf swing through videos and books and April said he has a wealth of knowledge about the swing.
''' I have to trust him because he's got me this far. So, I have to believe in him and he has to believe me,'' April said.
April's next decision also is going to be a big one. She expects to choose which college she'll attend after her senior year. She plans to decide within the next week or week and a half. April said she's beginning to narrow her choices and mentioned TCU, Oklahoma State and New Mexico among the top. She's been making the correct decisions, so far, and no doubt she will again.
Winning the championship flight in the 9-hole division was Alexandra Batista, 11, of Richland Hills.