Antelope's Canan continues to hold her own against the guys
The idea of playing on a high school girls golf team has crossed Mieke Canan's mind, but it's not something she thinks she'd enjoy.
For one, girls golf is a fall sport in Arizona, and she's already found an autumn home on the Antelope volleyball team. Spring's alternative options of softball or tennis don't appeal to her either.
Canan also understands that the best girls golfers around the state - and the college coaches recruiting them - are at her junior golf tournaments in the summer, and high school golf in the spring is a great tune-up.
But beyond that, Canan just has more fun teeing it up with the guys - and beating them.
"I was playing with a couple guys from Phoenix Christian who I've played with before, and they were saying, 'I'm going to beat you this time' and I told them 'No you're not.'
"I always have more pressure playing with the guys because I want to show ’em up on every hole, and that makes it more fun for me. There's not as much drama going on, and whenever I play with the guys they like to talk a lot and that's the way I like to play."
Canan had a sub-40 nine-hole average this year and scores of 82 and 76 at the 1A-2A State Golf Tournament to be named The Sun/Yuma Rotary Club 2009 All-Region Player of the Year for girls golf.
"I had a goal of parring every hole at state, which I did for the first nine on the second day," Canan said of last week's tournament at Cave Creek Golf Course. "The red tees were up this year so it was an easier course because when I hit driver I only had 100 yards or less."
While Canan is not the only female playing on a 1A or 2A golf team, she was the only one to place in the top 30 (T27). This year's finish was a step back from her top-20s the past two years at state despite nearly identical scores on a longer course, but the Rams' fifth place finish was their best yet.
"We were seventh my first year and didn't do so good last year, so we were definitely trying to get in the top five," she said. "(Antelope teammate) Henry (Canan) and I are always trying to beat each other because he's my brother, and Fred Blohm and I do match play all the time in practice and we're very competitive, and I think that makes us better as a team."
Canan had high expectations for herself after winning the Junior Golf Association of Arizona's Girls Player of the Year over the summer. The weekly tournament - and frequently visits to the top of the leaderboard - proved to be a valuable experience.
"That was a pretty big challenge to overcome, so I know I can do it now and that was a big help," she said. "The pressure of having your name on the board and being with all the top girls really lets you know where you stand."
Canan has another busy summer golf schedule mapped out with 14 tournaments marked on the calendar, including Monday's U.S. Open local qualifier in Phoenix. A top-10 finish in next year's state tournament is already on her goal sheet as well.
"I need to start hitting more greens, because I'm a pretty good driver and pretty good at two-putting," she said. "I'm not doing any FFA camps or anything like that this summer, but that's fine. I won't be sitting around the house wondering what to do."