If you live a motivational sports cliché, is it still a cliché?
But if there were ever a prep sport that lived up to one specific bit of motivational mumbo jumbo, it would be prep golf.
In this case, the poster above the high school drinking fountain reads: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
Inspired? Mojo risin’?
Good. Now get out there, finish strong, and win one for the Gipper! Hiyah! Hiyah!
Because in prep golf, the only thing that matters is how you finish the season. If you do well at districts, you go to state.
And when you do well at state, like Idaho Falls High School sophomore Yedin Lui, you earn the title Post Register All-Area Girls Golfer of the Year.
Lui opened the season with medalist honors at Pinecrest, outdueling teammate Hadley Hersh by four strokes.
Hersh then caught fire, edging Lui in the Tigers’ next three outings, including medalist performances at the Gate City Invitational and Falls City Classic.
“I think that fired her up,” Pinecrest golf pro Tim Reinke said. “Hadley beat her a couple times and I think she said to herself that wasn’t going to happen again.”
And it didn’t
From April 22 on, the season belonged to Lui, taking medalist honors in five straight — at Jefferson Hills, Pinecrest, the district tournament warm-up and the 5A District 6 tournament. In all, Lui took medalist honors in six of 10 tournaments, giving all credit to that early season slump.
“It was one of those times when I wasn’t able to hit my clubs the way I wanted to,” Lui said. “To lose three times in a row was kind of an eye opener, and that motivated me to get out there and practice the little things.”
The state championship at Highland Golf Course in Pocatello was a one-horse race with Vallivue senior and Texas Tech commit Gabby Barker playing the role of Secretariat, running away from the field with a 68-70—138.
Twenty-three strokes back in second place was Lui, a solid three strokes better than the show horse from Eagle (Natalie Mullins).
Lui’s silver medal at Highland was no mistake, growing up in a golfing family who spent much of their time at Sand Creek under the watchful eye of pro John Graham.
“The people who have the talent and work at it the hardest are going to get the most out of it,” Graham said. “She has the talent and works at it the hardest. It’s that simple.”
Golf is not religion for the Lui family. It’s more of a passionate distraction, and a chance to spend time together in the short grass.
At one point, Lui’s golf schedule had her lagging behind academically this spring. Lui, a 4.0 high honor roll student, had a paper to write, and missed a meet because of it.
“They made her stay home and write her paper, and that’s cool,” Reinke said. “Sometimes as parents we go a little nuts thinking it’s all about the sport, but they held her out and I think that fired her up, too.”
Based on her two remaining years in the prep ranks, the “it’s how you finish” cliché leads Reinke to believe there is no ceiling in Lui’s golf future.
“With her natural talent and the way she works at it, she’s not even halfway to her potential,” he said. “She’s out here on windy days, on cold days, and that’s a lesson for all of us. If you have the time, that’s how you get good at stuff, not just golf.”