O’Fallon resident Shannon Gould caught everyone’s attention last fall as a freshman at MICDS when she finished fourth in the Class 1 state high school girls golf tournament.
The 15-year-old Gould has continued to turn heads with her play this summer.
This week, she is competing in the PGA Junior Girls National Championship at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas. She earned her berth in the PGA Junior National Championship when she won the PGA Junior Girls Qualifying Tournament last month at Persimmon Woods Golf Club.
With a strong field of older girls in the tournament, she kept her expectations modest.
“Going into the event, I expected myself to play well and put myself in a good position,” Gould said. “I didn’t really expect to win, but I knew that that was a possibility.”
That possibility became a reality. Gould finished the 36 holes with a 164 to edge Abby Schroeder and Tori Hays by one stroke. Schroeder, of Wildwood, will be a senior this at MICDS. Hays graduated last spring from Alton (Illinois) High.
“On both of the rounds, I didn’t begin as well as I wanted to,” Gould said. “After I made the turn I began to play better.”
Gould started on No. 10 in her first round.
“On the second day, I was even after the first six holes of my back nine,” Gould said. “Even though I wasn’t on the greens in regulation often, many up-and-downs highlighted my round.”
Persimmons Woods is a tough track to play. Gould finished 22-over on two rounds of 82. However, it was good enough to claim the berth in the national tournament.
That outcome left Gould surprised.
“I didn’t think that I had a chance to win because my scores weren’t that good,” Gould said. “Once I saw the scoreboard, though, I was really surprised and excited.”
Gould also recently competed in the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association’s Junior Tournament at the Bogey Club. This time, Gould finished second to Schroeder with a 152 on rounds of 78 and 74 in the two-day tournament. Schroeder finished with a 151.
“After my first round, where I shot 78, I wasn’t too happy with it because I struggled with my approach shots,” Gould said. “But on the second day, I knew there was room to improve and I shot 74. I was pleased with how I played on the second day.”
If she had to finish second, Gould was happy to come in behind a fellow Ram.
“I am glad that she was able to win,” Gould said. “We have been really close in all of our tournaments and our friendly rivalry has helped us improve our team and individual play.”
Gould also played in the Missouri Women’s Golf Association Junior championship which was held at Crown Pointe Golf Club in Farmington. She tied for ninth on rounds of 77 and 83.
As a result of her play, Gould qualified to represent Missouri in the Junior Girls Four State Championship. That’s the annual event that pits Missouri golfers against girls from Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. This year it was played at Oak Hills Country Club in Omaha, Nebraska.
Gould helped Team Missouri win the team competition. She placed 11th out of 20 girls in the tournament.
After the PGA Junior Championship in Texas, Gould will finish her summer golf season with an AJGA tournament in Rogers, Arkansas. Then, it will be on for the fall girls season at MICDS under coach Steve Johnston. The Rams won the state championship last fall and both Gould and Schroeder are back along with Nicole Shearing and Amelia Schroeder.
“I had a lot of fun being on the high school girls golf team last year,” Gould said. “It was a great experience and awesome to win the team championship together.”
Winning the championship again this year could be tough. MICDS will have a bullseye on its back, but Gould believes the Rams can repeat.
“There will definitely be strong competition from other schools, but I believe that we can win it again,” Gould said. “Four out of five players are returning this year and we have all been practicing a lot over this summer to support our team this fall.”