When Eldorado’s Angie Pitaksarp tees off Monday in the Sunrise Region girls golf tournament, she won’t merely be her team’s top player.
She will be the Sundevils’ only player.
And that’s fine with her.
"It’s pretty good. I get all the credit," Pitaksarp said with a laugh. "But more importantly, I have the chance to represent Eldorado. I try to do my best every time."
Pitaksarp, the top golfer in the Northeast League, tees off at 11:40 a.m. in the final group of the Sunrise tournament at Legacy Golf Club. The Sunset Region tournament is Wednesday at Mountain Falls in Pahrump.
Despite placing 13th at the 2009 regional, Pitaksarp, a first-team all-Northeast choice last year, missed qualifying for the state meet by four strokes. She also was two strokes away from a state berth in 2008 and missed qualifying by four shot as a freshman.
This year, she took co-medalist honors at two Northeast matches while averaging a league-best 81.5 strokes per round — more than three strokes ahead of her nearest league competitor.
"Since it’s my senior year, I want to accomplish the goal of going to state, or doing well at regionals at least," Pitaksarp said. "I’ve been working with Mike Davis, and he’s improved my swing a lot. I feel more confident with my game.
"By feeling more confident, I guess I can perform better. I try to stay more calm this year. If I mess up, I know I can at least come back. But if I get distracted, my game’s over."
Pitaksarp is confident she finally can make it to state by shooting better than 85, which she has done in Northeast match play.
Eldorado coach Jim Fitch, who instructs Pitaksarp and two Sundevils underclassmen who don’t compete in tournaments, said Pitaksarp’s new confidence should yield dividends this year.
"She’s finally gotten to a point where she believes in her game, she believes that she’s good, and she can actually do it," said Fitch, who has coached golf for 32 years. "Before, there was a little fear factor, and it’s taken us a while to get past that. You have to believe you are good enough to be at that level."
While competing as the only Sundevils golfer all year, Pitaksarp has brought notoriety to the program as a student and an athlete, Fitch said.
"She’s an example of a student-athlete — good in the classroom and also good on the athletic field," he said. "That’s something that I think students and athletes should try to get to."
Pitaksarp excels in the classroom, where she is a candidate to be Eldorado’s valedictorian, while maintaining a schedule loaded with honors courses and daily practice rounds at home course Desert Rose.
She credits golf with teaching her focus, a valuable trait as she prepares her application to the Air Force Academy with designs on a career in medicine.
"(Golf has) taught me to have really good manners and the focus that I need for every single shot I take," Pitaksarp said. "And to get along with every other player; to be honest."