Local female golfer Kasey Frazier succeeded at Absegami High School well enough to earn a spot on the Wheeling Jesuit University golf team as a freshman this past year.
However, the 19-year old lacked some confidence in her game before she attended the NCAA Division II school - despite a spot on The Press' First Team All-Star list as a junior and senior.
"She was concerned, upset and nervous about whether she could play in college or not. So, I decided to take her on as a student and offered to sharpen up her game a little bit to get her ready for school," coach Bruce Chelucci said in a phone interview Tuesday evening.
Frazier won the girls individual title at the Carl Arena/Al Rifkin Memorial Championship as a high school senior in a two-hole playoff. She finished fourth in the Cape-Atlantic League Individual Tournament and averaged a 36.8 nine-hole score, the second lowest in the CAL American Conference. Many would wonder why she was lacking motivation going into her college career.
"At some point it seemed too much of a chore for her, and she felt the pressure that it was her ticket to play in college," Chelucci added. "She forgot to love golf and enjoy it for the great game that it is."
Chelucci had an immediate impact on Frazier, who was named the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year in her freshman season at Wheeling Jesuit. She claimed a NCAA Division II Super Regional Championship after completing the 54-hole tournament with a 3-day total of 229 - automatically qualifying her for the Division II Championships, where she finished tied for 23rd.
"It was an awesome first year (playing in college)," said Frazier of Galloway Township. "Our team was great, my coach (Sue Vail) was awesome and very supportive. I couldn't have asked for a more successful season. I won five out of my 10 tournaments."
Going into the year, Frazier never imagined achieving all of that success.
"I thought I was going to be way too nervous," she said. "During my high school career, I would psych myself out and get super nervous in big tournaments. So, it was awesome to mature my freshman year and to be able to do so well against the bigger and better players."
This summer Frazier has surrounded herself with golf. She works in the Pro Shop at Blue Heron Pines Golf Club and helps teach clinics with professional golfer and Oakcrest graduate Joanna Coe.
Frazier played alongside Coe at this year's ShopRite LPGA Classic qualifying round where Frazier shot a 9-over par 80, missing the cut. Frazier made the qualifying round after finishing second in the amateur qualifying tournament with an 87.
In her most recent tournament since the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Frazier took second out of 35 competitors at the New Jersey State Golf Association's 10th Women's Public Links Championship at Paramus Golf Course on Monday.
She shot a 1-over par 72. Samantha Perrotta from Gambler Ridge Golf Course won the event with an even-par 71.
"It is an amateur tournament that anyone can apply for, which means there can be a lot of good players doing it," Frazier said about the recent NJSGA event. "You do have to have a certain handicap to get into it. I know it's a good organization, and I have done a couple of tournaments with them before. I figured it was within in driving distance and it would be good practice for the summer."
Frazier doesn't have any more tournaments set up for this summer, but is keeping her options open. Training with Chelucci, on the other hand, allows her access to several pros that can challenge her too, including Coe who Chelucci believes has become a role model for Frazier.
"She just had adjusted her outlook on the game and life in general," Chelucci said about Frazier's immediate successes. "I just think that she sees herself in the junior golfers, and I think that she embraces the challenge that golf gives you. She will watch golfers struggle and realize now that it's part of the game. She doesn't have blinders on. She's technically better, but emotionally it's leaps and bounds (better)."
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