Stevenson shot rounds of 76 and 78 to beat 22 other girls from the Southeast in the 18-and-under division for a spot on the podium.
“I was very excited to be back on a college course, playing from college tees and (shooting) my all-time low in a two-day round,” Stevenson said. “I was striking the ball beautifully and was very proud of my score of 76 the first day. However, I do wish I had finished stronger the last four holes and scored closer to a 72.”
Though Stevenson is not new to the game of golf, having played it since the seventh grade, she is new to tournament success.
“Though she has played golf for years, she didn’t take it seriously until recently,” said Kathy Stevenson, Whitney’s mother. “Up until a year or two ago, she didn’t really play tournaments. Last year, something clicked. She decided she wanted to golf in college, and she got really serious.”
The urge to play golf at the next level for Whitney came after she won the county championship with Creekview and competed in the state tournament.
“After I won and went to state, I decided to do something about (my golf game),” Whitney said.
Shortly after she won the county tournament, the Stevensons hired Denise Killeen, a former Kennesaw State golf coach and LPGA Tour pro, as her swing coach.
Despite being faced with the task of rebuilding her entire swing under Killeen’s instruction, Stevenson proved to be up to the task.
“I loved working with Denise from our first lesson,” Stevenson said. “It was hard to retool my swing, but I really liked the change.”
After working with Killeen to improve her course management and short game as well, Stevenson began to see drastic improvements, something her mother also saw.
“(Before Denise) she wasn’t scoring really well,” Kathy said. “After they started working together, she dropped 10 strokes off of her game. Denise got her to think like a competitive golfer instead of a recreational golfer, and that was huge.”
When asked how she felt about her golf game currently, Whitney felt that she was on the verge of a breakthrough.
“I feel like I am the brink of going somewhere awesome with my golf game,” she said. “This summer, my scores have been higher than my practice would reflect, and my goal is to be par or better by the end of the year.”
For Kathy Stevenson, she believed success was imminent for Whitney if she wanted it.
“I always believed in her. I knew she could be an incredible golfer. But she had to make the decision herself to do it.”