In an (Ivy) League of her own
Friday, May 09, 2014 12:51 AM
Who knew the golf course could be such a sanctuary?
There stood Kelly Shon, with hardly anyone around her, practicing a few putts at Greenwood’s Links at Stoney Point.
All that was important to her -- at the moment -- was finding that right line which guides a little white ball into the hole.
It takes her away from the whirlwind she’s caught up in while finishing up her college degree next week.
It’s not just any college degree, mind you.
It’s one from Princeton University.
She’s in a league of her own. The Ivy League, no less. Thankfully, class at Princeton ended last week. Thus, that’s why Shon is able to play this week, next week in Asheville, North Carolina, and the week after that in Charlotte.
The League women’s golfer of the year for the second consecutive time, Shon was focusing on the task at hand: improving upon her first-round 5-over-par 77 in the Symetra Tour’s Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
“I hit the ball pretty well, but I did not putt very well,” said Shon, who turned down other scholarship offers from schools like Yale, Duke and Vanderbilt.
At least she was thinking about golf. Believe it or not, considering how mind-rattling golf can be, this was a good thing for her.
Consider what her life has been like since April 28. Just back from the League championship (she finished second), Shon had until 4 that day to turn in her thesis for her sociology major. The tournament lasted each of the three previous days, so she pulled an all-nighter once she was back in her room. Then, when everything was done, she dropped it off for binding at 11 a.m. She picked it up at 1, and submitted it at 1:15.
Why so early?
Well, she had class coming up -- and it was going to last from 2:30 until 4:30.
Her project is not done yet, though.
Tuesday, in Asheville, she has a 10 a.m. appointment -- obviously, on something like Skype -- with prominent figures in sociology for the final process in her thesis. Shon also has three papers due that day.
“I’ll fit in my practice round before, or after that,” Shon said. “Oh, and I also have a take-home exam due Wednesday. And then, I’m done.”
Sigh of relief?
“Honestly, I’m probably as stressed as I’ve ever been,” Shon said. “With the crunch time coming on my thesis deadline, this is probably one of the top three most stressful times, and I want it to be over with.”
Then, she paused.
“But, at the same time, I don’t want it to be over with because once it is, it’s kind of real, you know? I’m no longer a student-athlete,” Shon said.
As her mother, Kae, watched from the Stoney Point porch, Shon looked to her as both her inspiration and motivation.
The Shons moved to Long Island, New York, when Kelly was 8, and she took up golf four years later.
“I hit off the driving range a few times, went out on the golf course and then I was shooting 100 or 150 before you knew it,” Shon said, laughing.
But being an Ivy League student also helped her view golf in an entirely different way.
“It’s now an escape from my school work,” Shon said. “I used to look at golf as something more important than anything. But in school, that takes me away from my practice time, sometimes. And now, when I get a chance to go back on the golf course, I see it as a nice diversion.”
Shon can enjoy that nice diversion -- for now. She’s in danger of not making the cut at Stoney Point, though.
“It’s going to be an important day (today),” she said.
Not as important as Tuesday, though.
Chancey is sports editor at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 223-1813; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @IJSCOTTCHANCEY. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.