Patterson runs away with win

Fort Payne junior Elle Kate Patterson won the Alabama Junior Golf Championship at the Gadsden Country Club Tuesday.

Patterson dominated the field of 11 and won by 10 strokes. In two rounds of play she shot 75 and 73.

Patterson said she did a great job of avoiding mistakes in both rounds.

“I feel like I was just really consistent through both rounds,” Patterson said. “I didn’t think I was making any spectacular shots, but I also wasn’t making any horrible shots. I was just being consistent, and tried to make birdies when I could.”

After shooting 75 on the par-71 course Monday, Patterson was placed in the leader’s group for the final day of the tournament.

Patterson said there was a moment in the final round on the 10th hole that assured her that she would finish strong.

“The tournament was pretty much down to me and the other competitor in my group at that point,” Patterson said. “I birdied the ninth, and then we were both in the fairway of the 10th. She holed out from there for an eagle. I was able to stick my shot about six-feet from the hole, and I sank the putt for another birdie. That gave me a big confidence boost, and it helped me hang onto my lead.”

Patterson finished well in several other tournaments over summer.

July 16-17 she competed in a Hurricane Junior Golf Tour event at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, Georgia. She was tied for 16 out of 40 competitors after the first day, and she played well enough in the final round to place eighth.

June 18-19 She placed third in another Hurricane Junior Golf Tour event at Old Fort Golf Course in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Patterson was also one of 90 girls invited to compete in the North-South Junior Amateur Tournament at the historic Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, which has hosted more golf championships than any other course in the country. Patterson’s win Tuesday allows her to return to Pinehurst next year.

Patterson’s success has started to draw attention from collegiate golf programs across the southeast.

Elle Kate’s father and coach, Kenneth Patterson, said many schools have watched Elle Kate play.

“We’ve had a few coaches walk around courses and watch her play,” Patterson said. “They’re not allowed to have direct contact with her until September, but we’ve had almost a dozen schools come out to see her.”

Elle Kate said she wants to finish among the best in the state next spring for the Fort Payne High School golf team.

“My goal for the school season is to make it to state again,” Patterson said. “I really want to finish in the top-five after I finished in the top-10 last season. That’s what I’ll be focusing on when the season comes around. Until then, I’ll be playing in a lot of weekend tournaments, and I hope win some of those too.”

Patterson’s next event is July 30-31 at the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour’s College Prep Series at Forest Hills Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

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