Julia Dean ended her first season of high school golf the way she began it — with a bang.
The Brighton junior, who already has committed to play golf at Baylor, became the first Livingston County golfer to be named Miss Golf on Sunday at a banquet held by the coaches association in Lansing.
“I knew I had a good chance at it,” she said Sunday night. “I had the lowest scoring average in the state and I won the state meet, but I knew it could be close.”
She already had made the all-state team in Division 1 thanks to finishing first at the state meet last month.
“It was great, and well-deserved on her part,” Brighton coach Paul Parsell said. “She’s very happy and proud of the work she’s put in the past few years on her golf game. It shows that if you work hard, good things happen to you.”
Dean didn’t play her first two years of high school, then came out for the team this year and tied a school record in her first tournament, shooting a 68.
“I’d always wanted to play on the team,” she said. “But with my (American Junior Golf Association) schedule, it wasn’t possible until this year.”
That record, by the way, had been set a few days earlier by freshman Annie Pietila, who was named honorable mention all-state.
Dean led the Bulldogs in scoring this season, but her performance at the state meet showed she had some grit, too.
Playing under less than ideal conditions, including stiff winds and a little snow in October, she carded an 81 the first day.
“My short putts weren’t good that day,” she said, “so I worked on them after the round and I felt like I was in a zone the second day.”
She rallied from five strokes off the pace to win the overall individual title.
At Sunday’s banquet, she also received a trophy.
“It’s half the size of me,” she said, laughing. “It’s so heavy.”
Asked if she could use it for weight training, she laughed again.
“I guess I could,” she said.
Dean was surprised to learn she was the first to win it.
“There have been a lot of good players at Brighton,” she said. “I thought someone else had won it.”
“It was exciting for her family and her coaches,” Parsell said. “It was a good day for Brighton High School, that’s for sure.”
It was the first of two banquets for the Dean family. After the MISGA banquet, the Deans went to a banquet for the Brighton volleyball team, on which her younger sister, Angela, was a freshman setter this season.
“The first banquet, the food was OK,” she reported. “The second one — oh, my goodness, the food was amazing.”
You could say the same about her high school golf season, which was amazing itself.