Navajo Prep senior betting on golf to pay for college
Kylie Begay just needed a little bit of time.
The Navajo Prep senior needed time to develop, use her talent as a golfer, and more time on the golf course to earn her first ticket to the high school state golf tournament.
The 17-year-old from Fruitland, New Mexico, spent all her high school seasons trying to qualify for state and finally earned three qualifying scores to get the nod.
“It was very exciting, it was something I’ve been working at for almost a year now,” she said. “I was just really happy that I was able to achieve it.”
Begay received two of three qualifying legs at a tournament in Grants last month when she shot a 91 and 88. Her third leg came on Oct. 1 when she shot an 81 at the Kirtland Central tournament.
Begay said it took time and effort. She signed up for summer tournaments after her junior year.
“This year I actually wanted to better myself because I realized this is what I’m pretty good at and if I can get better then I can get college to look at me,” she said.
Begay started playing golf when she was about six years old. She started in the First Tee program, which prides itself in getting young athletes exposed to the sport.
She was immediately drawn to golf, especially since she had a strong support system.
“I liked that the coaches were really involved with the program,” Begay said. “My coach at the time was Tom Yost, he really made it fun. My dad also golfed. He also got me into golf.”
She also enjoyed soccer and spent the last three seasons going between the two sports, focusing on golf in the spring and soccer in the fall.
“I was a decent golfer, not the best, but back then I was very mellow, just go-with-the-flow kind of golfer,” Begay said. “Right now it’s like I’m very competitive.”
Navajo Prep head golf coach Fernando Azofeifa Archibald, who coached Begay since her sophomore year, said he has watched her develop.
“Since the beginning it seems like she had the talent,” he said. “Some of the kids that have the talent, that comes natural.”