Kate Owens’ senior year represented the end of an era: For the first time during her time at Lambert, the Longhorns girls golf team didn’t win the state championship.
Owens is much more focused, however, on what the team did do during the two rounds at Spring Hill Country Club, where a disqualification on the first day played a significant role in Lambert sitting 19 strokes back of the lead.
In the second round, through wet, windy conditions, Lambert turned in a score that was five strokes better than any other team’s single-round score during the tournament. The Longhorns made up 16 strokes on the first-day deficit, and the wound up finishing in third, just three strokes behind first-place North Gwinnett.
“Some of the girls were asking me, ‘Did we let you down, not winning?’” Owens said. “But it felt just the same.”
Owens, who earned All-FCN Girls Golfer of the Year for the second time, finished third overall at state, shooting a 150 overall, with a 71 on the second day. She had a tournament average of 73 and was the low medalist at the Dalton Lady Cat Invitational and Marist Par 3 Tournament.
And she’s certainly not done with competitive golf now that high school is over: Owens is headed to James Madison University in Virginia, where she had been committed since before her junior season.
But her long-term future in golf could be in determining how the sport works on a fundamental level. Owens has long been fixated on numbers, data and the workings of things, and she takes that calculated approach to her game.
“I’m always thinking about yardages, distances, how far up, how far down, wind, lie, slope, all of those things – I’m constantly trying to register them in my head,” Owens said. “I think sometimes I maybe overthink, and that can hold me back, but there’s also something to be said for being so calculated and being so precise in what I’m doing.”
Calculation and precision are key qualities on one particular discipline: club fitting. Owens recalled going down to Sea Island’s Golf Performance Center to get a set customized and finding herself fascinated by the particulars of the process: the measurements made by the TrackMan machine, the adjustments made to a club and how they affected its performance, and the precise customization, even down to handicap.
Owens found out that the typical college degree for the field is a major in mechanical engineering with a minor in physics, and while she can’t get that at James Madison, she’s planning to add an engineering emphasis to her integrated science and technology degree, and if the field still interests Owens, she can head to grad school.
“It’s this whole crazy world of numbers and trial and error and building things,” Owens said. “And it just all seemed really, really interesting to me.”