Morrison didn’t miss her shot

  • Franklin Pierce University golfer Camden Morrison hits a shot at the Battle at the Bay tournament in March. COURTESY PHOTO

  • Franklin Pierce University women’s golfer Camden Morrison watches a drive at the Northeast-10 Championship at Bretwood Golf Course in Keene. Morrison finished in second place at the event. COURTESY PHOTO

  • Franklin Pierce University’s Camden Morrison finished second at the NCAA Division II East Super Regional to become the first women’s golfer in program history to qualify for the Division II championships. COURTESY PHOTO

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 10:41PM

Seventeen-year-old Camden Morrison was having another terrible round.

It was the second day of the Women’s Massachusetts Golf Association Junior Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. She had already shot 91 in the first round. She was working on an even higher score when she got to the ninth hole.

The ninth at Oak Hill is a 370-yard par 4. Like most Donald Ross-designed courses, the greens at Oak Hill fall off at the edges, so approach shots need to be precise. But Morrison wasn’t worried about precision. She just knew she had 90 yards, which for her, was a knock-down sand wedge.

Before she hit, she noticed a man standing behind the green.

Probably somebody’s dad.

She swung and the ball landed 10 feet behind the pin, then it spun back to tap-in range.

After she putted out on the 18th hole, she signed her scorecard for a 92 and went home. She didn’t think about the man standing behind the green.

Another look

Tyler Bishop was at the 2013 Women’s Massachusetts Golf Association Junior Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg, Massachusetts to check out a couple of recruits. The Ravens program was just starting up and Bishop (an FPU alumnus and former pitcher for the Ravens baseball team) was hoping to build a program just as successful as the FPU men’s golf team, which qualified for the 2012 NCAA Division II tournament.

It would be a difficult task. Bishop had to compete with against hundreds of Division I and warm-weather schools for the nation’s best golfers. Bishop went to the event to watch two of the 12 girls in the championship division, and he passed the ninth green on his way to watch the tournament leaders.

That’s when he saw a ball drop from the air and spin back 10 feet to just a couple of feet from the pin.

It was the best shot that Camden Morrison hit all day, but it made an impression.

“I knew right away, she had a way better game than what she was scoring at,” Bishop said. “I just knew there was a ton of potential in her.”

A couple of days later, Bishop called Morrison to offer her a spot on the Ravens women’s golf team.

The dream

Morrison loved golf. She told her family she was going to be on the LPGA Tour.

“I saw it in her, when I first put her on a golf course,” said Morrison’s mother, Paula Reggio.

When Morrison was in the sixth grade, Reggio took her to a golf camp at a course in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts. When Reggio went to pick up her daughter, one of the golf professionals asked if they could play nine holes with Morrison, because they were so impressed with her game.

“Anything Camden puts her mind to she achieves. Anything she touches turns to gold,” Reggio said.

Despite the support, Morrison struggled in her biggest high school golf tournaments. She remembers shooting 98 her junior year at Millis High School for the state championship qualifier. She didn’t qualify. The next year she shot 90 and missed out again.

When the call came from Bishop, Morrison didn’t have any other offers.

Morrison said Reggio told her to get into something business-related or find “something else that I’m passionate about,” Morrison said.

“Everyone around me is very supportive, but they definitely wanted me to have plans to fall back on,” Morrison said.

Morrison said she wants to be a general manager at a golf course if the LPGA Tour dream doesn’t work out. But her mother isn’t buying it.

“Her backup plan was to back up her first plan,” Reggio said.

After her sophomore year, when she averaged 78.4 strokes per round, Morrison recommitted herself to the game.

She set up a strict workout and practice plan. She could always hit the ball long (Bishop says Morrison averages 275 yards off the tee, which would put her in the top 5 on the LPGA Tour), but she focused on her short game.

Her work started to show.

Last September, in the first tournament of the season — the FPU Fall Invitational at Bretwood Golf Course in Keene — Morrison shot a 3-under 69 to beat the field by six shots.

“I always believed I was capable of these numbers, but it wasn’t happening,” Morrison said.

Morrison followed it up with five more tournament wins. Then on May 10, she shot a three-round score of 1-over to finish second at the NCAA Division II East Super Regional at Glenmoor Country Club in Canton, Ohio. Morrison was the first women’s golfer from FPU to qualify for the Super Regional and the first to make it to the Division II championship, which is scheduled for May 17-20 at Findlay Country Club in Findlay, Ohio.

“She’s really just growing into her game, she’s a junior now, and everything’s just starting to click,” Bishop said.

Morrison’s 2017 results

Sept. 4 FPU Fall Invitational 69 (-3) First

Sept. 11-12 Michael Corbett Fall Classic 146 (+2) First

Sept. 25-26 Northeast-10 Championship 150 (+6) Second

Oct. 2-3 Kutztown University Fall Invitational 155 (+15) Second

Oct. 17-18 Big Apple Lady Invitational 160 (+16) T-22nd

Oct. 24-25 Trevecca Fall Invitational 145 (+1) T-first

March 17-18 Browngolf Intercollegiate 156 (+12) First

March 26-27 Battle at the Bay 164 (+22) T-eighth

April 9-10 Dr. Edwin Cottrell Invitational 159 (+11) T-first

April 21-22 Saint Rose Spring Classic 147 (+3) First

May 8-10 NCAA Division II East Super Regional217 (+1) Second