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Stoll playing great golf, still looking to improve this summer

Photo Credit: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Beaverton High senior girls' golfer Gigi Stoll went on a month-long tear in June, taking her game to another level against some of the nations best competition.

This summer, Gigi Stoll’s game has never been better.

She’s never putted more accurately, struck the ball with such force or come up clutch in do-or-die moments than the girls’ golf prodigy has the past two months, traveling coast-to-coast and taking on all talented comers from around the world.

The future University of Arizona commit is arguably at the peak of her powers, having won the OGA Women’s Amateur and Oregon Junior Girls’ Amateur in consecutive weeks as well as the OGA Women’s Tournament in June.

“Everything’s clicking together at one time,” said Stoll. “Putting, chipping, hitting the ball are all going really well together. You can kind of tell right before you’re about to hit a peak, and I feel like this summer has been really good for me.”

Stoll said she played at her best golf at the OGA Women’s Amateur as she was able to walk the course with confidence and feel comfortable with every aspect of her game. Putting — an occasional Achilles’ heel for one of the longest female hitters in the world — has changed course for Stoll who sank a pivotal, 35-foot putt against Kendall Prince on the 21st hole at the Women’s Amateur for the win. From the moment Stoll’s putter squared up the ball and sent it sailing down the green, the 17-year-old said she knew the ball was destined for the bottom of hole.

“Some putts you can tell right when it hits the blade that it’s going in,” said Stoll. “Watching that one start on line and stay on line the whole time, I could just watch the back of the ball roll right into the cup.”

In years past, Stoll sometimes settled for two or three-putts on the green, which swelled her scores somewhat and curbed the potential to go even lower into the high 60-range. However, 90 percent of putting is confidence, Stoll said, and in the last two months her self-belief around the green has been at an all-time high.

“It’s stepping on the course and thinking you’re going to make every putt,” said Stoll. “Anybody can hit the ball, but putting comes down to scoring. That’s where the numbers come from. Shooting low numbers is all about getting the ball in the hole, and putting’s the biggest part.”

The last three weeks, Stoll and her dad Mike have been on the road not only playing scheduled matches but getting in extra practice rounds and lessons following the meets, putting in the hours to ensure Stoll continues improving and taking her elite skill set to another stratum.

Golf, whether she advances to the LPGA tour after playing for the UA or turns into a teaching pro at a golf course, will always be incorporated in Stoll’s life, she said. Knowing that the game she grew up playing with her dad and older brother trying to hit shots over the water at Portland Golf Club as a five-year-old tyro has such a big stake in future keeps the wunderkind going. Stoll’s prowess has already taken her to golf’s pinnacle, yet she says there is much more room for growth.

Photo Credit: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Beaverton High senior girls' golfer Gigi Stolls putting has been a true strength this summer and helped the star limit her scores and stay atop many a leaderboard this summer traveling from event to event.

“It makes me want to be better and be great at golf,” said Stoll. “My game’s been pretty constant the past few years, but it’s all been about learning my game and learning habits and little things that I can fix when things aren’t going my way.”

The demanding travel/playing schedule has in essence cut down Stoll’s summer to a few precious weeks back in Beaverton. So, while her friends are out floating, tubing, going to the beach, Stoll is most likely getting into a rental car and venturing to the next tournament, the next state, chasing her dream, attempting to fulfill her vast potential. It’s not always pleasurable. There are times, Stoll said, where she’s on Twitter or Facebook looking at her friends enjoying the freedom of summer and wishes she was beside them. However, Stoll knows her long-term goals and aspirations won’t come to be if she doesn’t toil away in the present.

“In the end, I know this what I have to do to be where I want to be in the future,” said Stoll. “I think giving up the day at the beach for a golf tournament will be fine in the end.”



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