Cove’s Elle Fox caps her historic career with 13th-place finish at state tourney
By TJ MAXWELL
GEORGETOWN - A longtime dream of playing in the University Interscholastic League State Golf Championships had eluded Copperas Cove senior Elle Fox by one stroke in her sophomore year and by the COVID-19 pandemic that wiped away her junior year.
That dream became reality on Monday as she teed off as the first Copperas Cove Lady Dawg golfer to ever make the state tournament held at the Legacy Hils Golf Club in Georgetown May 10-11.
“I was definitely really nervous, but hitting my first tee shot was pretty good,” said Fox. “The feeling is so indescribable. Just making it to that point crossed off a big goal of mine that I had from the start.”
The dream turned into a little bit of a nightmare, however, as Fox uncharacteristically had a double bogey on two of the first four holes to put her at +4 in the early goings.
“On the first day, I was hitting the ball good, but my tee shots weren’t going the way I wanted them to go, so I just had to get my putts falling and they did on the first day,” said Fox.”
Birdies on holes 14 and 15 brought her back within four shots of the lead at +2, however a bogey on 17 and another double on 10 had Fox fighting to stay in the top 40.
“I just had to get my mind going,” Fox said about falling to +5 after 10 holes. I just kept telling myself, ‘Elle, this is it. This is your last chance. You have to fight through it. I am proud of myself for battling back because it could have went the other way. My mental game was really strong on the back nine.”
Fox again fell into a groove to finish with two birdies and five pars over the next eight holes to put herself in a tie for 20th at the end of 18 holes. She was tied for 28th when she finished but the field came back to her putting her in 20th heading into day two.
Fox dialed it in on day two with her drivers and irons putting her in position to creep back up the leaderboard, but she came up short on a couple of key birdie opportunities that could have put her back in the hunt.
“On the second day, I was proud that my nine holes were going smoothly,” she said. “I was hitting the ball really good, it’s just my putts weren’t falling. It was like the opposite of the first day.”
Fox parred 16 of the 18 holes with just two bogeys on the par 3, 145-yard, hole 8 and on the par 4, 359-yard, hole 13 to finish seven strokes out of the lead at 150 (76-74) tied in 13th-place with Round Rock sophomore Jiyu Han (77-73) and Lewisville Hebron junior Samantha Straight (73-77).
“I’m proud of myself for just making it to state, but getting a top 15 finish - I like it,” said Fox. “Even though it’s not Top 5 or Top 10. I’ll take it. “I just wanted to make a statement on Copperas Cove, and I wanted people to remember me by that.”
San Angelo Central junior Ryann Honea finished with a -1 143 (69-74) to win the state crown with Plano East senior Meagan Winans posting a -3 on day two to earn the silver with a 144 (75-69) while Vandegrift junior Mimi Burton (69-76) and Waco Midway’s Eubin Shim (71-74) tying in the third spot with 145.
Fox will miss the friendships she’s made along the way, but she looks forward to battling them in the college ranks as she will soon depart for another Lady Bulldogs’ golf squad at Division I Mississippi State.
“It was definitely really cool to be with my friends on the last day of state and our last high school tournament,” said Fox. “One of my friends from Westlake was walking off the green. I went and hugged her, and we cried together. I was a great feeling to have. I will definitely miss all my friends from high school, but I’m ready to play with them in college.”
Fox knows the road gets harder at the Division I level, but she’s ready to take it on.
“It’s definitely going to be a hard journey, but I’m excited for the challenge,” she said. “I’m ready for it.”
Fox finishes her high school golf career as one the most successful golfers in Copperas Cove history and as the most accomplished female golfer in the school’s history.
“I just want to thank Copperas Cove for all the support through my junior high and high school career,” said Fox. “I wouldn’t have had the confidence going into these tournaments without all the support.
“It’s a crazy feeling. I’m thankful for the news, the supporters and all the friendships that I’ve made. It will definitely bring me along on my college journey.”