Cooney to play college golf three years after picking up game

By 
Chris Mcconnell
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Photo courtesy Jim O’Neil                        LHS Senior and All–State golfer Madi Cooney recently committed to play golf at Dickinson State University next year.

Photo courtesy Jim O’Neil
          
            LHS Senior and All–State golfer Madi Cooney recently committed to play golf at Dickinson State University next year.

LHS Senior Madi Cooney has signed a letter of intent to play golf at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota next fall.

The All–State golfer had six top–10 finishes this season and was part of the Lady Loco team that won two of the three total Class A State Championships in Lady Loco golf program history.

She also had never touched a club before her sophomore year.

Cooney played softball and basketball and said head golf coach Jim O’Neil recruited her from the softball team. “Coach Branstetter said Coach O’Neil was looking for players to fill the golf team roster and he came to practice to ask. I said yes then borrowed some clubs from my mom’s friend. After that I got Morgan O’Neil’s old clubs (Coach O’Neil’s daughter and Rocky Mountain College golfer).”

Golf is a sport known to be difficult and frustrating for the absolute beginner but Cooney brushed it off and said it was similar to learning how to play softball and basketball. “It’s like learning to hit the softball off the tee or to dribble a basketball,” she said.

Coach O’Neil is also impressed with her progress, going from beginner to collegiate golfer in three years.

“I am very proud of Madi.  Three years ago she had never touched a golf club in her life.  The first time we worked to- gether she couldn’t hit it.  I don’t mean she couldn’t hit it good, she couldn’t hit the ball at all.  She now is an All-State golfer who has an opportunity to play collegiately.  Madi epitomizes what I want our golf program to stand for.  With hard work, discipline, patience and trust, along with a little toughness and grit, we can accomplish great things,” he said.

Cooney said Dickinson State contacted her and she went on a recruiting visit on Jan. 20. “I hit some balls in the simulator with some of the team then decided on the drive home that it would be a good opportunity,” she said.

The NAIA school is known its education and nursing programs, the latter being the major Cooney plans to pursue.

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