Golfers distinguish themselves by how they handle tough situations. A bad stroke or putt on one hole could lead to disaster on the next.
Brighton senior Cobair Collinsworth credits a solid mental approach for her recent success on the course. Collinsworth, who before would let her anger affect her game, has learned to be calmer. That attitude resulted in a third-place individual finish at the Class 5A state golf championship last season.
"My mental game has improved the most," Collinsworth said. "I've learned to not let a bad hole ruin another hole. I go with the flow and try not to let my anger get the best of me. I've learned from my mistakes and play one hole to the next."
Collinsworth, 17, who plays virtually year-round, estimates she has cut more than 20 strokes off her game since her freshman season. She now consistently scores in the high 70s to low 80s and improves each time out.
"It's like a video game where you want to get to the next level," she said. "I want to keep playing. The more you keep playing, the more you improve."
Collinsworth shot 77 to place third in the state championship last season, just three strokes behind medalist Sirene Blair of Bingham. She missed out on second place by one stroke, as Bingham's Sam Crawford shot 76. Collinsworth was Brighton's best performer at state by far. The next best score was 105.
"I wanted to come in second so bad but was only one stroke away, so it wasn't too big of a letdown," she said. "[Blair] is a prodigy, so we were playing for second. I just want to do my best and keep getting better."
Brighton coach Jim Gresh, who coached the girls team for the first time last season, was impressed immediately with Collinsworth. What he saw was a girl who could hit the ball far and straight off the tee, shortening the distance to the hole.
"That gives her more chance for an accurate shot," Gresh said about Collinsworth's hitting ability. "She keeps it in play and makes scores on holes instead of making mistakes. I expect she's going to make a run at trying to win a [state] medal. There are a lot of good players out there, and she's one of them."
Collinsworth, who is a member of the Utah Junior Golf Association, credits her father, Orian, with helping improve her mental game. She plans to enroll at Dixie State and redshirt her first year before joining the golf team.