Game On - Spring 2024

In her prep career, Eden has played 108 holes at the state tournament en route to two ti- tles and a runner-up effort in a playoff as a sophomore — a round she still isn’t all that keen to talk about. She’s recorded 21 birdies, 59 pars, 26 bogeys, and two “others,” meaning a score worse than bogey. So the ques- tion was asked, does she re- member those two “others?” “No, I don’t remember those,” she said. “I have a short-term memory on the course, that’s probably why I don’t remember too much. When I play, I don’t really focus on what I’m doing score wise, I’m just focused on each individual shot so that I don’t get ahead of myself. I’ve always been able to get myself focused.” For your information: those two “others” were double-bo- geys during her freshman and sophomore seasons. Once she was reminded of the specific holes at River Valley Golf

Course in Adel — the par-3 16th in 2021 and the par-4 13th in 2022 — an invisible lightbulb brightened above her head. She smiled sheepishly. “OK, yeah, now I remember,” she said as her words trailed off. She might consider her own mental game as a work in pro- gress, but this story is an exam- ple of why she’s still miles and miles ahead of the competition. While a bad hole is a rarity for her, Eden is able to put it in the rearview mirror quickly and simply focus on the next shot. Usually, that next shot is a thing of beauty. ••••• Now’s the part of the story where, just in case you aren’t impressed enough, we throw some historical numbers at you. Everyone likes statistics.

In 2023 as a junior, Eden led the state — and we’re talking all classes — in four significant categories, including low 9-hole average (34.80) and low 9-hole score (32). Her 9-hole scoring average was just off the school record of two-time state cham- pion Britta Snyder, now a senior golfer at Baylor University, who averaged a 34.6 during her jun- ior campaign in 2019 (Britta’s senior season was cancelled due to COVID-19). Britta holds the Gilbert 18- hole scoring record of 70.5 too, and both are numbers Eden is chasing this spring, even if she won’t publicly admit it. Tigers’ head coach Grant Walker knows those are goals of his prodigy, who has been in love with the game for as long as she can remember. “She knows the numbers that Britta put up and she hasn’t been that far off of them,” Walker said. “If you had asked me when (Eden) was a fresh- man if she could beat those numbers, I wouldn’t have had

the answer. But I think it’s well within her reach to do that.” Walker says Eden is so freak- ishly good from tee to green, that all it’s going to take is an unconscious day with the flat stick for her to have a shot at breaking 30. Yes, that’s right ... breaking 30! “That girl is one hot putter away from a 29 in a meet, and I believe that,” Walker said. “It’s just incredible to me the shots she hits ... and then we joke about the putts she misses.” Aah, yes, the putter. This section may be too tech- nical for non-golfers, but we’ll do our best to relay it in a way that makes sense to everyone. Eden has always used a blade putter, but her stroke with a slight arc is more aligned with a mallet putter. But she thinks she’s found a solution. All it took was a trip to Illinois to the Bettenardi Golf

Britta Snyder (above) was a two-time Class 3A individual state champion for the Gilbert girls’ golf team. She’s currently a senior at Baylor University.


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