Elle Kate Patterson may be on a summer break from school, but she’s taking no time off from the golf course.
Tuesday Patterson placed first in the 13-15 year old division at the 54th annual Bud Burns Invitational Tournament at Selma Country Club. She also placed seventh overall for the tournament with a round of 79.
The tournament was a two-day event on Monday and Tuesday. Monday she shot a round of 81 and was two strokes off the lead going into the second day of competition. Tuesday she was able to bounce back and make up those two strokes to claim first in her division.
“It was an up-and-down day,” Patterson said. “I started off good, but then I got off track and got a little nervous. Going into Tuesday I was paired with the leaders, and I knew I had to beat them to win. I started off really well on the first eight holes and was able to keep it together on the back nine after that.”
Going into the tournament, Patterson knew it was going to be tight competition and anybody could get the win on the second day. She said not having the lead going into the day actually helped her.
“It took some nerves and some pressure off,” Patterson said. “I didn’t have the lead so I knew I didn’t have to keep it, but I knew it was so close that whoever played well on Tuesday would win it. I also knew I could play better [on Tuesday] and I had a chance to win.”
This comes off a successful ninth grade year for her at Fort Payne High School, where she won her first high school tournament at the Twin Bridges Classic, qualified for the sub-state tournament as an individual and was just a stroke away from advancing to the state tournament.
“It was a pretty successful year for me,” Patterson said. “During my eighth grade year I never shot in the 70s and this year that was my goal was to try to consistently have rounds in the 70s. I was actually able to shoot a 72 and win my first high school tournament this year. I missed qualifying for state by one shot, but almost qualifying for state and missing it by one shot just makes me want it that much more.”
How does she plan to make the state tournament? Simple — play as much golf as she can.
The Bud Burns Invitational is a part of the Alabama Junior Golf Tour, and for the remainder of the summer she’ll be playing on the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour.
She mainly plays as much in the summer because she enjoys it, but the experience she gains translates in a big way during the high school season.
“Summer golf helps me a lot because there are longer yardages, which makes it tougher with the longer holes,” Patterson said. “The courses are harder and I get to travel and go out of state in the summer and play, which prepares me a lot for school golf.”
For Patterson, it’s a lot of hours spent traveling and on the golf course, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s so fun,” Patterson said. “I get to play on new courses and nice courses that I’ve never been to. It’s a good experience, I think. I’m playing a lot and I love it.”
Looking ahead to next year she’s still got plenty of goals left to achieve, and with her just being an upcoming sophomore she’s got plenty of time left to achieve them.
“In high school I want a state championship —that’s my main goal for high school,” Patterson said. “In summer golf I want to take the next step and play in a national tournament. After high school I want to play in college, and I’m hoping I can play at a Division I school.”