By DAVE LINK
Brylee Crouse didn’t let a tough opening round ruin her first trip to the Class A state golf tournament.
The Kingston sophomore had a case of the nerves when she teed off Oct. 7 at Sevierville Golf Club and shot 11-over 81 for the first round.
“The first day was my first time at state, so I had a little bit of the butterflies,” Crouse said, “and it wasn’t going how I wanted, but I just kept fighting, and I was like, ‘OK, we’re going to figure this out for tomorrow.’ I just came in the next day, and everything was clicking again, and I just played my best.”
Crouse shot 1-over 71 for the Oct. 8 second round and finished fifth at state with a 12-over 152. Her final-round score was the second-best round of the day in the 46-player field.
Not bad for her first trip to state – and after a shaky opening round.
“I was proud of myself for it being my first time (at state),” said Crouse, the 2021 5Star Preps Girls Player of the Year. “I definitely think I could have done better because I left a lot out there the first day, but I was pretty proud of my bounce back my second day.”
It capped a big high school postseason for Crouse, who was runner-up in the season opening 5Star Preps Masters.
She shot 74 and repeated as winner of the District 3-A tournament at Kingston’s Lakeside Golf Course, her home course, before winning the Region 2-A tournament by firing a 73 at Tennessee National in Loudon.
“At that point, I’d had a lot of work with Jake Reeves,” Crouse said, “and that’s when I really started working with Back9Coaching, coach (Chas) Narramore and Brooke Pancake. I just really used all the information they told me, and it just really clicked out on the course.”
She also credits Kingston golf coach Mike Neal for putting together a demanding schedule.
“This season what really helped,” Crouse said, “was coach Neal got us competitive matches and that just really helped with my mindset, just going into it and knowing I had to play my best.”
Crouse took up golf about five years ago when she was encouraged to play by Don Mount, a Kingston local.
“Before that, I played softball for a really long time,” Crouse said. “We had a little break from (softball), and I just started going to the driving range with my dad (Bryan) and I’ve just been doing it ever since.”
Crouse figured her future was in golf and no longer plays softball.
Her goal is to play college golf. When she’s not playing in a tournament, she’s working with her coaches or on her own.
Like this offseason.
“Me and Jake (Reeves) have done a lot of good swing adjustments,” Crouse said, “and I’ve been working with Chas and Brooke with Back9Coaching about all the short game and wedges and all of that course management stuff to really get me ready for the course.”