By Jim Irish
Photos by Jim Irish
Bastrop sophomore Carly Sherman leads a fast-paced life that requires establishing priorities. By all accounts, Sherman is handling the demands well.
She carries a 4.3 GPA and ranks 11th out of almost 500 students in her class.
She works three days a week as a golf attendant at Los Pines Golf Club, cleaning golf carts and clubs.
And, by the way, she also qualified for the Class 5A state golf tournament as an individual a couple of weeks ago. This is the second consecutive season a Bastrop athlete has advanced to state. Last year, Lindsey Hastings, who currently plays at Eastern Illinois University, reached it.
It’s not all work though for Sherman. For pleasure, she entertains the family’s dogs, Cody, a male Australian Shepherd, and Baby, a female Blue Heeler.
At the Class 5A Region 3 tournament on April 17-18 at the Golf Club Margarita in Montgomery, Sherman had a shaky start in the first round. She was 7-over par through the first five holes. But she settled down and went 1-over par for a 79.
"... I was honestly proud of that 8-over par, even though I played horrible."
-- Bastrop's Carly Sherman about 79 at region
Last year, she shot 82 in the first round at region on the same course and missed state.
“My mental game has gotten a lot tougher,” Sherman said. “I was honestly proud of that 8-over par, even though I played horrible. I just couldn’t hit the ball. It was one of those rounds that didn’t come together.”
On the second day at region, she shot a par 71 to finish at 150 and was the first in the medalist division and sixth overall.
“It shows a little more maturity and mental toughness, being able to have that improved round the second day,” she said. “Everything came together. I focused on one hole at a time.”
As a tuneup for the state tournament, Sherman competed in the Bluebonnet Championship in Brownwood last weekend and took eighth place with a 77-72, 5-over par 149. Bluebonnet is by invitation only; Sherman had qualified by winning back-to-back tournaments on the South Texas PGA Prestige Tour in February.
“Maturity comes with age and experience,” the 16-year-old Sherman said.
"Maturity comes with age and experience."
Her father, John Sherman, has observed her maturity as well on the course.
“Golf is a difficult game, and it’s easy to get down on yourself,” he said. “I have a very strict code of conduct with her. She’s grown to the point where she’s pretty level headed.”
Justin Orzak, a certified PGA professional at Lost Pines, has instructed Sherman on an as-needed basis for several years.
"Carly has definitely improved her putting and short game, learning to hit more shots and become more versatile around the greens," Orzak said. "We have been working on some swing keys to help her hit the ball more consistently on a day-to-day basis."
The state tournament runs Monday and Tuesday at 9 a.m. at White Wing Golf Club in Georgetown. Sherman is paired with Chloe Sirkin of Grapevine and Sayers Allen of Smithson Valley in the first round.
“I think going into the state tournament I can win it if I play to the best of my ability,” she said. “I also understand that the field I’m playing is just as good if not better than I am. So, I’m not going to be too hard on myself.”
In other words, keep the expectations at a realistic level. After all, she has two more high school years in front of her.
“Through experience, I’ve learned that putting so much pressure on yourself to do well is not a recipe for anything great,” she said. “I’m going to take it hole by hole, whatever the golf course gives me, whatever my golf swing will give me that day.”
"I can not stand missing tournaments."
-- John Sherman, Carly's father
Her father, of course, will be in the gallery to encourage her. Spectators are not allowed to coach.
“I can not stand missing tournaments,” he said. “I usually walk a little ahead to follow balls so I can find them. She likes me to be there. She doesn’t like it when I’m not there watching.”
Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas