State golf preview: Tumwater's Kayla Monroe shows drive on, off the course

Long-hitting Tumwater senior has a 3.9 GPA and 2 district titles, but is striving for a Class 2A state championship

Contributing writerMay 27, 2014 

Tumwater High School senior Kayla Monroe hopes to at least break into the top eight at this week’s Class 2A girls state golf tournament at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway. Monroe tied for 12th as a freshman, was 10th as a sophomore and as a junior ended up 11th after suffering a knee injury before state.

STEVE BLOOM/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There isn’t much Kayla Monroe needs to round out her résumé as a high school student-athlete.

The Tumwater High School senior carries a 3.9 grade-point average. She has been the leader for the girls golf team since her freshman year. She’s a two-time Class 2A District IV champion with three top-15 finishes at the state golf tournament.

She will take her game to the next level in the fall at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.

“You can’t ask for a better student of the game, a better all-around athlete,” coach Brent Bryant said. “She’s every coach’s dream.”

If there’s anything missing from Monroe’s golf portfolio, Bryant said, it’s a state tournament finish that better represents her talent and the work she’s put in.

Monroe doesn’t disagree.

“Yeah, I kind of feel like it is (missing),” she said. “I don’t want to think about it that way and put pressure on myself, which I don’t want to do.”

As a freshman in 2011, she finished tied for 12th. In 2012, she placed 10th.

Last year, Monroe suffered a left knee injury during the final practice before state. She shot an 86 in the first round and a 94 in the final round that dropped her into an 11th-place finish at The Classic Golf Club in Spanaway.

“The second day, I had to adjust my swing to (the knee),” Monroe said. “I wasn’t really happy with my score, even with my injury.”

This year, after winning the 2A District IV title at Mint Valley Golf Course in Longview, Monroe is healthy for the Class 2A state tournament Wednesday and Thursday at The Classic.

“In my freshman and sophomore years, I was trying to be in the top 15 or top 10,” she said. “Last year, I wanted to be in that top eight, but the injury got in my way.

“I’m really looking forward to getting in the top eight and possibly winning this year.”

In pure golf terms, Monroe’s strength is her length.

“She can definitely overpower a golf course,” Bryant said. “Even at state, there’s not going to be a girl who’ll hit a golf ball farther than her.”

Monroe has a solid short game, Bryant said, and her course management skills are vastly improved. Coach and athlete agree her putting is off and on.

Win or lose at state, she said, she’ll play her game.

“I try to have fun,” Monroe said. “I forget every shot, good or bad. I don’t count my strokes until I’m done playing golf that day.

“Basically, just concentrate on myself and not worry about the other girls, not worry about anyone else’s score. Just try to do the best that I can.”

Her best is very good, according to her coach.

“If she can put it together both days,” Bryant said, “she has the capability to win it easily.”

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