Passion for golf spurs Emerson to overcome setback

9 years ago

HODGDON, Maine — When it comes to the game of golf, Hodgdon senior Lexi Emerson’s passion for the game is abundantly clear.

But when a Sept. 6 car accident resulted in broken foot and a few cracked ribs, Emerson’s final golf season was cast into serious doubt as she had to decide if she could fight through the pain to keep playing.

Emerson was behind the wheel of her Mazda 626 sedan when she was struck head-on while driving on Route 2A as she turned to go into a driveway.

“There is a bit of a blind spot and I didn’t see this car coming at us,” she recalled. “We got smacked pretty good.”

Emerson’s older sister Kali was a passenger in the car and suffered broken ribs and sustained a concussion. A second passenger, Elayna Byron, was partially ejected.

“I was the only one awake afterward,” Emerson said. “I thought they were both gone. It was really freaky. We were really lucky it wasn’t much worse.”

A golfer from the age of 10, Emerson took up the sport after her parents suggested giving it a try. She wasn’t into the other team sports — softball, soccer, basketball — so golf presented an opportunity for her to still get some outdoor exercise.

Neither of her parents — Daniel and Leslie Emerson of Hodgdon — realized at that time that they were setting her on a path to achieve great success.

“My parent suggested I give Junior Golf a try,” Lexi said. “I hadn’t really thought that much about it, but figured I would give it a try. I liked being outdoors, so (golf) seemed like a good fit.”

As much as Emerson loves to play golf, she cannot stand watching the sport on television.

“I just can’t watch it,” she said. “It’s boring.”

The lone senior on the Hodgdon golf team this year, Emerson averaged 52 for nine rounds during her high school matches this season, according to her coach Mike Fleming. During her freshman and sophomore season, Emerson golfed with the Houlton High School team before transferring to Hodgdon.

“She has a steady golf game and showed great leadership abilities,” coach Fleming said.

She was one of the key reasons that the Hawks were able to qualify for States as a team for the first time in many years. At States, held Saturday at the Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, Emerson shot a 112 over 18 holes, helping the Hawks finish 11th in Class C.

One of Emerson’s goals coming into the season was to qualify for the state individual golf championships for the fourth consecutive year. And she was not about to let a “little” thing like a broken foot deter him from reaching that goal.

In order to qualify for States as an individual golfer, Emerson needed to score a 110 at the Aroostook County championships, held Sept. 18 at VaJoWa Golf Course in Island Falls. Scoring a 110 seemed automatic for Emerson at the event as she had tallied a 96 over the first 17 holes. Most of the holes she shot a five or six. But when it came to the 18th hole something odd happened.

“My coach told me, ‘Lexi, you’ve made it. There is no way you are going to shoot a 14 on this last hole.’” she said. “I hit the first ball and it went into the woods. My second ball bounced off a tree and onto the fairway, but we couldn’t find the ball. So I had to go back and hit another ball and that one went into the woods.”

She wound up shooting a 13 on that final hole, making the cut by just one stroke.

Emerson still laughs when recalling one of her more comical moments on the golf course, which happened during her junior year at the Houlton Golf Course.

“I was hitting a ball out of a sand bunker and tripped, so I fell right into the sand,” she said. “It was pretty funny.”

Golf is certainly a mental sport and Emerson said there were times when a bad day at school carried over to the golf course. How she is golfing on a particular day can also impact her mood.

“I get ticked off when I do poorly,” she said.

After her accident she had to adjust her golf game because of the walking boot. The big bulky footwear proved especially tricky on her tee shots. Fortunately, she was also able to use a golf cart during her matches, as there was no way she could walk the course with the boot.

“I basically had to get in a zone and not think about the whole boot thing,” she said. “I had to change everything about my game.”