As they step up to the tee and look into the distance at what awaits on the golf course, Juanita senior Ellery Pridgen and Lake Washington freshman Morgan Lee know they’ll be creating memorable moments for the next few hours.
As their golf balls ping off their clubs and nestle into the lush green fairways, athletes will walk together and exchange words of encouragement and share some laughs along the way.
“It’s about having fun, it’s about getting to be with some amazing people and being part of the team,” said Pridgen, who’s been on the Rebel squad for three years and began her golf journey as a youngster. “The concentration is just really calming and being so close to nature is amazing.”
This is Lee’s fifth year in the golf realm and first as part of a team.
“Being on this golf team is really nice ‘cause golf is such an individual sport, and being in a team that’s also so supportive is just awesome. I love playing with people who love the same sport as we do,” said Lee, whose team finished ahead of Juanita, 227-298, on April 25 at Willows Run Golf Complex in Redmond. Lee notched medalist honors with a 38 (two-over) on the nine-hole course.
Lee — who has medaled copious times — nailed her low score this season of 35 on the Kangs’ home venue at Bellevue Golf Course. She launched her longest drive of 231 yards during a recent LW contest at practice and has a 60-foot putt to her name that she cupped during a tournament at Willows.
“I didn’t even see it go in, and my friends were like, ‘Oh my god, that was such a good putt,’ and I went up and I was like, ‘Where is it?’ And it’s, ‘It’s in the hole.’ It was a good surprise,” Lee said with a smile. She couldn’t see the hole on the shot and was trying to putt it up on a hill.
Lee finds golf to be an engaging sport, and one that requires athletes to be especially calm when it comes to the putting portion of matches. The 3A KingCo medalist took place this week, after the Reporter’s deadline.
Pridgen enjoys the right mix of solitary and social when she hits the golf course. Getting to know different types of people is a plus, she said.
She blasted her farthest drive of 225 yards and her eyes light up at the thought of pummeling the ball: “It’s a good feeling.”
Following her graduation from Juanita, Pridgen will attend Western Washington University and major in business. She’s enjoyed her time with the Rebels’ golf squad and also dipped her clubs into some leagues around the area, like the Club at the Nation at Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course and Tachell Times at sundry local courses.
Pridgen knows Dan and Chad Tachell from when they owned Carnation Golf Course, where she grew up playing the game. At age 18, she’s the youngest golfer in that league and has soaked up knowledge from the older players.
“It’s definitely a different scene, but it’s a lot of fun,” she said of stepping away from the high school competition. “I’ve gotten a lot of great tips from them. They teach me a lot about keeping focused, keeping your eye on the ball and stuff like that.”
The Reporter asked Lee and Pridgen a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives:
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Lee: Just keep your head in the game and just kind of stay in your own little bubble, because it’s so easy to get distracted by many different things (during a golf round).
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Lee: I like “Not One Less,” it’s a Chinese movie. It’s about a little boy that runs away ‘cause he thinks he’s not good enough in the school he’s in, and the teacher comes and finds him. It’s an emotional movie and I love it.
What kind of music do you like?
Lee: Ooh, that’s hard. I listen to all different genres. It really depends on my mood. Usually for golf, I like something that pumps me up.
What super power would you like to have?
Pridgen: I’d like to be able to fly, I think that would be cool.
Lee: I’d like to fly. Above the world.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Pridgen: Jack Kerouac. (“Big Sur” is her favorite novel by him.)
Lee: Lydia Ko, the golfer. I love her, I got to meet her last year in Sahalee, I went over there for the KPMG (Womens PGA Championship).
What inspires you the most each day?
Lee: Just to make the people I love proud. My parents and my friends are like, ‘Go kick some butt,’ do this and that, and I feel I should just make every day count and make them proud.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Pridgen: Definitely English, I really like to write.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Pridgen: I don’t like it when people are late for things. I like everyone to be very on time.
What’s your dream vacation spot?
Pridgen: Florence (Italy).
What would be your dream golf course to play on?
Pridgen: St. Andrews (Scotland).
What’s your best golf moment?
Pridgen: I was playing at a course, Kayak Point in Stanwood, and I ended up getting really, really close to a red tail hawk. And it was the coolest experience I’ve ever had.