Growing up, Anne Willman didnt even like golf, but when her family hit the links for a round, shed get dragged along anyway.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
That was our foursome (parents Steve and Diana and older brother Scott), Willman said, But in those early days, it felt like a chore. There would be weekends where I was told that we were going to play golf as a family, and I would pray that it would rain so I didnt have to play.
That seems like a different lifetime for Willman, who already was the most decorated girls golfer in Shawnee Mission East history before receiving the Kenneth Smith Award on Wednesday as the most outstanding high school girls golfer in greater Kansas City this fall.
Its very strange, she said. I remember telling my dad when I was 11 that I wanted golf shoes, so thats when it started. Sometimes I still cant imagine that Im going to play college golf when I hated it so much. Of course, now, I love it.
And Willman, who changed her mind about golf when she began playing tournaments as a fifth-grader, can no longer imagine her life without it.
Willman, who committed to Kansas State last month, finished fourth at the Kansas 6A state meet as a senior, leading SM East to its first championship since 1987.
She won 12 of 34 tournaments in her career, including Sunflower League championships as a sophomore and senior along with the last three regional titles, and medaled at every event except the Lawrence Invitational at Alvamar Golf Club her freshman year.
Shes been a dream player to work with and will really be missed, Lancers coach Ermanno Ritschl said. These four years have flown by, but every year has been better and better for Anne. She started with an 8-over-par average and finished up with a 4.6.
Willman medaled at state all four years, tying for 17th as a freshman before finishing fourth as a sophomore and fifth as a junior.
Away from the course, Willman boasts a 4.27 grade-point average and serves as National Honor Society president as well as editor for SM Easts award-winning student newspaper, The Harbinger.
Shes also active with her church as a tutor and is chairperson of SM Easts outreach program SHARE, which works with the elderly in assisted-living homes.
As part of the award, the Kenneth L. and Eva S. Smith Foundation presented a check for $5,000 in Willmans name to the First Tee of Greater Kansas City.