AVON LAKE — Over the course of her high school career, Avon Lake senior Paighton Masterson has earned the admiration of her coach, the respect of her peers and a lot of medals and trophies.
Masterson earned something equally as important Sunday, the opportunity to play Division I college golf when she committed to the University of Cincinnati.
“The opportunity they provided me, I couldn’t pass up,” Masterson said. “I feel like the coaches and university will set me up not just for college golf but for life after college. (Cincinnati) Coach (Janet Carl) has high expectations not just for my golf game but for me as a person.”
Masterson is a four-year varsity player who really came into her own as a sophomore. By her junior season, she emerged as one of the area’s top players, winning medalist honors at the Division I sectional tournament at the Legacy Course at Sweetbriar. She was also the medalist in the Southwestern Conference tournament on the same Legacy course, shooting a 2-over-par 72.
The highlight of her junior year came at the prestigious Edison Invitational at Thunderbird Hills where she shot a 4-under 68.
“Paighton is my dream player,” Avon Lake coach Krystine Frisch said. “She’s so dedicated, she’s a great leader and a role model and she just works so hard.”
Masterson hasn’t just won individual honors, she’s also helped the Shoregals become one of the top teams in the area with 42-1 record in dual meets and three district tournament appearances the last three years.
“Paighton has made my job super easy and super wonderful,” Frisch said. “We have a strong squad this year and she’s a big part of the reason why. She’s a great role model, a great student and just a wonderful young woman.”
Masterson returned home last week from playing the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship in Florida then headed down to Cincinnati to visit the campus. It was then she knew she had made her decision and was ready to share it with the world.
“Playing D-I has been my goal for a while,” she said. “I’m so excited. It feels really good. I just had to make my decision now, I was too excited not to.”
Although it’s obvious Masterson and Frisch have forged a special relationship in her four years at Avon Lake, Masterson also credits her swing coach, Nick Paez at GOLFTEC Cleveland West, with helping her take her game to the next level.
Frisch said what really has set Masterson apart is how hard she works at her game.
“We’ll have a practice and Paighton will go home and have dinner and be right back at the course hitting balls or putting or chipping, whatever she needs to work on,” Frisch said. “All of the work she puts in is what has made her the player she is.”
Masterson can now focus on her senior season and she has some lofty goals after finishing tied for 12th at last year’s district tournament.
“My personal goal is to make it to state this year,” Masterson said. “If we keep playing the way we have been and can make it as a team that would be so amazing.”
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