Shannon Sprague wins Delaware golf title
By John Bernhardt
Shannon Sprague is a gamer. When the soccer ball is kicked off in the center of the field or the golfers approach the first tee, Sprague puts on her game face and amps up her play. The bigger the challenge, the greater the focus and the more likely Sprague will elevate her game. Shannon Sprague competes.
Last week at the Delhi College Golf Course, Sprague lifted her golf game to new levels winning medalist honors in the Delaware League Golf Championship by shooting a personal best 87.
Sprague, the only girl to compete in the eight-team event, finished one stroke ahead of a group of four guys; Dan Marino from Windham, Mychael Grant from Gilboa, and Tyler Lamport and Ryan Sluiter of Andes/South Kortright.
Loves the sport
Sprague loves her time on the golf course and wishes more girls would take up the game.
“A lot more guys in my generation are playing golf which is kind of sad since I’m the only girl playing in the Delaware League,” said the Roxbury junior.
But, Sprague doesn’t mind mixing it up on the golf course with the guys. The Roxbury ace has been well received by her male teammates and competitors. “Most of the guys in the league just treat me like another guy. They don’t pity me or cut me any slack. That’s the way I want it,” noted Sprague.
Sprague’s championship win was an upset of sorts. Although Sprague was the number one golfer on the Roxbury team, her stroke average trailed a handful of players from other schools. Players are divided by stroke average into threesomes in the championship tournament. Sprague’s stroke average was a 49 and at least one and, perhaps two, threesomes were comprised of golfers with higher stroke averages.
When asked how the guys reacted when they discovered her name at the top of the leader board, Sprague said several of the league’s top competitors were disappointed in their personal performances but, at the same time, very happy for her.
Expects a lot
In fact, when she finished her round, Sprague was disappointed with her performance.
“I totally bombed the 18th hole closing out with a seven or eight and should have finished with a score at least three strokes lower than I did,” Sprague recalled. The Roxbury ace had no idea she was in the mix to win the league title when she headed for the clubhouse. “I really thought my score would be a lot higher than the top golfers in the league.”
Like many of the league golfers, Sprague approached championship play competing only against herself. Sprague set a goal for the first nine holes, hoping to finish with a 44. After hitting that goal flush, Sprague readjusted her aspirations on the back nine, hoping simply to best her front nine score. Once again, Sprague met her self imposed challenge, scoring a 43.
Sprague discovered golf four years ago when her family moved to Roxbury from downstate. Her dad, Artie Sprague and Gordie Faulkner, who was the Stamford golf pro at the time, recognized Sprague had a lot of potential and got her going in the sport. Sprague credits both with any success she has with the game.
This summer, Sprague mentored kids in the Junior Golf Instructional Schools held in both Franklin and Margaretville. Sprague played in both the Women’s and Partner’s Leagues in Stamford during the warm months when she plays at least three times a week.
Sprague feels golf is on an upward rise in the Delaware League, pointing to this fall’s high of eight different school with qualifying teams in the championship tournament. Windham and Gliboa shared the DL’s team title with identical scores of 365. Andes/SK finished third at 371 with Margaretville close behind at 373.