The Sporting Life: Foothills golf star to lead Falcons - The Explorer: Import

The Sporting Life: Foothills golf star to lead Falcons

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Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:00 pm | Updated: 7:52 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

September 20, 2006 - The wish list in Sage Suffecool's mind is a lengthy one: a new car, perhaps some new clubs, maybe some new golf outfits.

The prized possession the captain of the Catalina Foothills High School girls golf team truly covets, however, is a new ring - the kind that accompanies a state title.

"We really want to win (the Class 4A championship) and we really want state rings," said the bubbly Foothills senior. "We want them real bad."

The motivation for a state title - and the matching championship rings the team will buy if it should win the 4A championship - is built on revenge.

Last year, Suffecool finished tied for seventh in the state playoffs with Cienega High School's Amie Parkhurst and teammate - and then Foothills captain - Alicia Flores, with a two-day total of 152.

Despite placing five golfers in the top 12, Foothills finished a heartbreaking one-stroke behind Cave Creek Cactus Shadows High School in the Falcons' attempt to repeat as state champs.

Foothills is off to a sluggish start this season but head coach Mark Polich believes that once his young team builds some consistency in its No. 4 and 5 positions, the Falcons will contend for its second title in three years come November. Nos. 1 through 9 can shoot 40 or lower for nine holes, just not consistently yet, added the coach.

Providing solidity in the No. 1 spot is Suffecool. The senior leads all of Southern Arizona in scoring average for nine holes, shooting 39.

What's remarkable about Suffecool's rise to the top of Falcon golf hierarchy is the time it took the senior to get there, said Polich. She first decided to pick up a golf club her freshman year after a twisted vertebra cut short her soccer career.

A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Suffecool also dabbled in dance, softball and tennis before making the switch to golf. Golf isn't an easy sport for experts, let alone a novice, but Suffecool isn't one to walk away from a challenge.

"I have to make everything perfect and I have to be the best at everything or else I get really angry," she said.

In three short years, Suffecool and Polich - the only coach she has had in her brief career - have completely built and remodeled her swing.

"'Wow, I'm really bad' was my first initial thought but as time went on it got easier and easier," said Suffecool about her first time out on the driving range.

College scouts don't seem to think her swing is all that bad.

A handful of Division I schools are recruiting the senior, the frontrunner being the University of Oregon.

Suffecool's golf r/sum/ ranges far outside her experience with Foothills, however.

After beginning the summer ranked 1,001 by the National Junior Golf Scoreboard, Suffecool dropped her 18-hole average from 86 to 79. As a result of a torrid summer on the course, Suffecool was able to drop her NJGS rank from above 1,000 to 291.

Highlighting her dramatic drop in scoring average was a win in the Girls Championship Division of the Ping Arizona Junior Masters tournament. Her efforts also earned a role as an alternate on the U.S. Girls Junior squad.

Later in the summer, she missed qualifying for Team Arizona in the America's Cup Tournament by one roster spot. Instead of playing against teams from throughout the western United States at the Oro Valley Country Club, her No. 5 seed in the state earned her a spot in the Mary Cave Cup held in El Cajon, Calif.

Lowering her national rank is just one example of the determination of Suffecool, who plans on following her mother and father into the medical field by studying pre-med in college.

Perhaps in the future she'll need to remove her championship ring before she performs surgery.

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