After finishing second in the state golf tournament twice, South Whidbey High School senior Kolby Heggenes isn’t, surprisingly, frustrated or disappointed.
Since she can’t control how her opponents play, Heggenes sees the tournaments as competing against herself.
Heggenes marks her success on how well she plays and how much she improves.
“Don’t get me wrong,” she said. “Do I want to win? Yes.”
In fact, she said the biggest change in her outlook on athletics the past few years is the growth of her competitive desire.
It’s that competitiveness that has fueled her wish to improve.
“And there is always something to improve on,” she said.
As a team, South Whidbey placed second two years in a row before winning the combined state 1A/2B/1B team title last spring. It is not lost on Heggenes that her personal path could follow the same pattern – second, second, first – if she wins this year’s individual crown.
This year’s state finals are May 22 and 23 at Spokane’s Hangman Valley Golf Course.
Winning the team title in 2017 was more important than her individual accomplishments, she said, because she “could share it with her teammates.”
Her positive attitude toward her fellow Falcons is one of Heggenes’ strengths, according to her father and high school coach Garth Heggenes.
“Kolby has the ability to make them all feel comfortable around her and, at the same time, be a really good golfer that they would like to play like,” he said.
Kolby Heggenes is a three-sport athlete, also competing in volleyball and basketball for the Falcons. She admits that had she focused on golf, she might be a two-time state champion. But, she said, she would not trade the experience of playing the other sports for individual success.
“I definitely learned something from each sport I played,” she said, adding that those lessons from volleyball and basketball helped her with her golf game.
Garth Heggenes noticed early on that his daughter had natural ability as a golfer.
“She has always had a nice fluid swing,” he said. “She competed in a few tournaments before high school, but she really began to excel once she got into high school and was playing on a regular basis.
“Being athletic has allowed her to play other sports and still be able to compete at golf at a high level.”
Along with her father, Kolby Heggenes credits Brion Labach, the head pro at the Falcons’ course, Useless Bay Golf and Country Club, for helping her improve her golf game.
“He and all the guys here at the club are really supportive, and that goes for everyone on the team, not just me,” she said.
Garth Heggenes said it has been a “great opportunity” to be able to coach his daughter in a sport he has a passion for.
“It has had its emotional ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it,” he said. “I am extremely proud of her.”
Coming into this season, Heggenes is a three-time, first-team, all-conference golfer and qualified for the state tournament all three years. (She placed 13th as a freshman before finishing second as a sophomore and junior.)
Heggenes will attend Washington State University next fall and is not sure if she will play golf. WSU coach Kelli Kamimura is aware of Heggenes, and Heggenes said she might walk on.
But before graduating this spring, she has more work to do.
“I need to improve my short game,” she said. “It is one of my biggest weaknesses.”
If her game improves, she said, she will be a champion even if she doesn’t win the state title.