Osage golfer sets school record

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OSAGE BEACH - Golf requires patience and a certain amount of mental toughness. Sustaining success is one of the most difficult parts of the sport. With the right coach, one mid-missouri golfer found a way to capture her consistency during her high school career.

Taylor Hayes is a senior golfer at School of Osage. She started playing golf when she was eight years old with the Lake Ozark Junior Golf Association. In October, she competed in the Class 1 Girls' Golf State Championship, coming in twelve.

"I played pretty well, but I could not putt to save my life," Taylor said. "Other than that, it was a really good tournament."

This wasn't Taylor's first trip to this championship. In fact, she made the state championship all four years of her high school career, becoming the first female athlete to do so in any sport in School of Osage history.

"It's not a sport that you can just pick up a ball and learn how to play in like a couple months," Taylor said. "It takes years and years of lots and lots of practice."

She has done most of her practice with those closest to her, especially her mom and her coach-Brenda Hayes.

"I started the program here at Osage nine years ago, about the time she was in third grade," Brenda said. "I knew she was going to be coming up, and I just felt like it was a great opportunity for girls. We had a boy's team, but we didn't have a girl's team."

Not only does Taylor's mom coach her, but her older brother went through the program as well when he went to School of Osage. Also, her father--Tory Hayes--is a PGA professional golfer.

"I married into it, so I did not play as a kid," Brenda said with a smile. "I didn't know anything about golf until I married my husband and his whole family played. It seems to just be something running through all the families."

As Taylor has grown up with her mom always nearby, she couldn't imagine it any other way.

"She's very handy, she doesn't like it when I use that term," Taylor said while laughing. "But it's very nice to have her around just for that extra moral support, and it's like not even a transition, hardly, from somewhere to school since we spend all summer together. We're traveling around the midwest, playing in different tournaments, so it's nice to just keep her with me through the whole process."

As Taylor's graduation approaches this upcoming May, Brenda said it will be tough to let her athlete move on to the next stage in her life, but she said Taylor is ready for the challenge.

"I've been with her every tournament that she's ever played, I think," Brenda said. "So, that's something that will be a little different for her and I both when I don't get to see one. That's going to be very difficult. But I'm not worried one bit, she's going to do great. I'm looking forward to it, it's a new chapter."

Taylor has committed to play golf at Carson Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Her parents plan to see as many of her tournaments as they can.

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