By Jeff Odom
Land O’ Lakes girls golfer Eden Shirmohammad first stepped onto the course as a freshman never expecting to be the squad’s ace.
As a sophomore last season, Shirmohammad was the only Gators golfer, boy or girl, to advance past the Class 2A-District 11 tournament into regionals.
“I walked into the season feeling really, really confident in what I was doing,” Shirmohammad said. “I practiced a lot this summer and knowing how much I achieved last year and walking into this year, I have way more confidence.”
The junior’s success last season has inspired numerous teammates, including Jaycee Welker, who said she looks up to Shirmohammad.
“She’s really one of my role models,” Welker said. “We have so much in common, and I love her so much. She is such a good leader and she always leads us up and if we’re having a bad day, she helps us sometimes. She’s really a great leader, and I’m glad she’s No. 1.”
Second-year coach John Clapp, who also coaches the Gators’ softball team, said he has high expectations for Shirmohammad and hopes those trickle down to each of his golfers.
“It’s still a young team,” Clapp said. “I still got a couple veteran players who are seniors, but pretty much it’s a new team; it’s a young team. Players like Eden, she’s one I look for a lot of potential in her; and Jaycee, she’s come along as a second-year player. This year I took 12 players, which is kind of unheard of for golf, but I’m trying to build and try to see where the girls want to play.”
Shirmohammad said it can be tense at times knowing the school has high success in many sports programs at Land O’ Lakes like swimming, football and baseball.
“Not going to lie, it’s a little bit stressful,” Shirmohammad said. “I feel like I’ve got criteria in place to meet. It just makes me want to work even harder and do even better than I did last year, and maybe even have an opportunity to go to states.”
Junior Sierra Holt also plays on the school’s softball team. Before this year, she had never played golf, but she decided to drop the bat and pick up a club this fall under the guidance of Clapp.
“It’s really enjoyable, and I can say it’s a very fun sport; very calm,” Holt said. “It would be cool if I went far in it. … It’s fun. It’s different, but it’s really cool. I’ve played softball my whole life, so coming out here it was kind of the same thing.”
Shirmohammad credits her coach and teammates for making the season so relaxing, and hopes to continue playing in college. She plans to work toward one day becoming a television news broadcaster or sports journalist.
“Hopefully, I will start getting in to contacting some colleges and some scholarship opportunities and keep going with this sport because I love it,” Shirmohammad said. “(As a team) we’re our own group of people. We’re really funny, and we all have our different portions we need to work on, but we also work as a cohesive group to make sure we’re having a good time. Even if we’re having a bad day, we’ll come out the next day working just as hard as we did the day before.”
The 2A-11 tournament is at Heritage Springs Country Club in Trinity Oct. 16 at 12:30 p.m.