Much has changed in the 12 months since Franklin Community High School girls golfer Avery Auton qualified for regional as a sophomore.
A different sectional host means a different course.
Auton shot a 95 at last year’s Southport Sectional at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin. This morning, the Grizzly Cubs’ No. 1 player tees off at the Center Grove Sectional at Hickory Stick Golf Club.
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This presents a whole new set of challenges for Auton.
Not that she hasn’t stared down others.
The scar on Auton’s right leg tells the story of the knee surgery performed approximately one week after the 2015 Roncalli Regional at Smock Golf Course, at which Auton carded a 90.
What ensued amounted to a yearlong recovery process.
“My knee cap dislocates. Instead of going up and down, it goes out to the side. They had to go in and move it over and put screws down,” said Auton, who experienced discomfort in the knee all of last season and wore a brace over it when she played.
“Usually I play in summer tournaments, but this year I couldn’t start playing golf until July because of my surgery.”
Auton started with 9-hole walks. Over time she developed the strength to make it around an 18-hole layout.
“She had some pain in her knee. I was more worried about 18-hole matches than I was the 9-hole matches,” second-year Grizzly Cubs coach Chris Kacarab said. “But she’s never once used it as a reason for a score.
“I don’t think she feels that way, and I don’t think it’s affecting her swing, so I’m not worried about her knee.”
Auton strides confidently today toward the Hickory Stick layout with hopes of leading her team to Saturday’s Roncalli Regional at Smock.
“I will be honest, this is one of my weaker courses. The last sectional’s course was at The Legends, where I’m a member,” Auton said. “But I’m confident that I’ll do well. I’ve played quite a few practice rounds at Hickory Stick.”
As a ninth-grader, Auton began her Franklin golf career as the No. 2 player behind Lexie Elliott. She took over the top spot in the Grizzly Cubs’ lineup last season and has been there ever since.
“I’ve got new clubs, a new knee,” Auton said with a laugh. “Everything is new this season.”
Name: Avery Auton
Born: Davenport, Iowa
Family: Parents, Scott and Rhonda; brother, Tye, 18
Favorite TV show: “Parks and Recreation”
Favorite food: Anything with chocolate
Favorite movie: “Step Brothers”
Favorite team: Cincinnati Bengals