School and golf bal­anced

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Imo­gen Don­nelly-Lawrence has a level head on her shoul­ders.

One of the re­gion’s best young golfers, the Aotea Col­lege stu­dent is the first to ac­cept her 2010 form wasn’t up to scratch. Her stud­ies took pri­or­ity and Welling­ton rep­re­sen­ta­tive du­ties slipped away.

But a re­cent re­turn to form saw her line up with her Welling­ton team-mates – in­clud­ing Ti­tahi Bay’s Te Ron­gopai Clay – in a de­feat of Hawkes’ Bay.

‘‘Last year wasn’t great for me, I had a snap hook I just could not get rid of and I wasn’t feel­ing right about my game. So I took a short break and I’ve come back a lot bet­ter. Play­ing for Welling­ton is very im­por­tant to me, I was pretty sur­prised to get the callup, but I’ve had the right mo­ti­va­tion to get to this level again.’’

It shows ma­tu­rity by the 16-yearold, who says in the past she has not worked on her game as hard as she should. Now back in the Welling­ton fold, and with her Manor Park coach Kevin Smith be­hind her – who Don­nel­lyLawrence says is a ‘‘ huge as­set’’ to the Welling­ton play­ers – the fu­ture looks bright.

Play­ing tour­na­ments in Jan­uary, Don­nelly-Lawrence’s driv­ing off the tee was of par­tic­u­lar sat­is­fac­tion.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing how much eas­ier the game of golf is when you are in the fair­way,’’ she says.

Her top form also saw her win the Col­lege Sport Welling­ton girls’ competition at the Royal Welling­ton Golf Club in late March, along with the Welling­ton sec­ondary schools ti­tle last month.

In­ter-provin­cials are not un­til later this year, but you are likely to see her in­volved. Hit­ting golf balls will have to make way for hit­ting the books this win­ter, how­ever.

‘‘This year [year 12] is crit­i­cal for me and at one stage I was go­ing to to­tally leave golf be­hind. But then my game came back and I guess I have to have that bal­ance. I’ve got games most week­ends and plenty of prac­tice through the week, and my school­work is pick­ing up. I have no so­cial life – it’s all about golf and school.’’

So while she en­joys the travel and friend­ships golf has given her, does a ca­reer on the links beckon?

‘‘I want to go to univer­sity and do psy­chol­ogy. Whether that’s on a [golf] schol­ar­ship over­seas, I don’t know yet. I think get­ting a de­gree is re­ally im­por­tant, golf will al­ways be there. I’ve played since I was five and I’m still learn­ing about the game, that’s what I love about it.’’

Strik­ing a bal­ance: Aotea Col­lege stu­dent and Welling­ton golfer Imo­gen Don­nelly-Lawrence faces a ‘‘crit­i­cal’’ year, both in her golf and at school.

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