Henryetta senior Skylar Smallwood has grown up with some pretty strong role models that have influenced her success on the golf course.
“I grew up watching my older sister Amber play and become the first golfer ever at Henryetta to make All State and then she went on to play college golf,” said Smallwood. “I’ve also liked to watch Lydia Ko on the LPGA tour. I like how she approaches things and I watch her videos and I actually got to walk with her one year at an event in Arkansas when I was the standard bearer.”
Ko was the youngest pro player ever, male or female, to be ranked number one at the age of 17 in 2015.
Skylar seems to be following well in her role models footsteps as a two-time state qualifier and shooting for a third appearance this spring.
“I’ve known Skylar since she was just a little tyke and I coached her sister,” said veteran Black Knight golf coach Dutch Vandenborn. “She’s a hard worker and has been very successful in the game of golf. She’s a two-time Heartland Conference champion and has qualified for state twice. She’s got a delightful personality and is a good leader for our team.”
Being a senior leader is a task that Skylar takes pretty seriously.
“I think my job as a leader is to make sure we do everything coach asks of us and to help lead practices and help the girls with their swing or technique if I can. I can also explain things that coach is trying to get across maybe a little better,”
For Smallwood, who finished 12th last year, going to the state tournament has been more than just about how she played.
“Going my freshman year was so cool. I played with a girl named Avery that I’m still good friends with today. There was no state my sophomore year due to Covid. And last year I got to go with all my best friends on the team and that made it 10 times better,” said Smallwood who also played softball through her sophomore year.
Skylar is shooting in the low to mid-80s now and hopes to get that down into the 70s by the time state rolls around. All of her friends are back on the team this year so Skylar and Henryetta should have a solid shot at teeing it up at the Lake Murray course for the state tournament.
Smallwood will take her golfing skills to the next level as she will play at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina next year.