CHEYENNE – Erin Sargent isn’t sure she was all that interested in golf when she was a 14-year-old.
Ali Mulhall is competing against and beating women at the sport.
Last summer, the Green River resident won the women’s title at the Wyoming State Amateur championship. Mulhall – who turned 14 on June 10 – shot a 3-under-par 69 Friday and leads this year’s state am by five strokes.
Sargent got an up close look at Mulhall when the two squared off in final of the Wyoming Match Play Championship earlier this month at Jacoby Golf Course in Laramie. Sargent got the better of that meeting and walked away with the title, but left impressed with Mulhall.
“She is super consistent off the tee and hits it really far, especially considering her age,” said Sargent, who is tied for second with her University of Wyoming teammate Caitlyn Skavdahl.
“I’m not sure I even played golf when I was her age. She is really great around the green, and is a really good all-around player who has gotten a lot of good experience. She is on a great track.”
Mulhall’s father, Chris Mulhall, spent 15 years as the head professional at Rolling Greens Country Club in Green River. The family has since moved to Henderson, Nevada, and opened ChampX Golf Academy. The Mulhalls continue to spend their summers in Green River.
Ali Mulhall took to the sport as early as one would expect a girl with that background.
She started by occasionally picking up a club and hitting putts on the practice green in her family’s basement. She played in her first tournament as a kindergartner. Even there she was competing against older players.
Mulhall teed it up against women for the first time as a 10-year-old. Her younger sister, Molli,
bettered that when she competed in the Wyoming State Amateur as a 9-year-old last year.
“I was pretty cocky when I was little, so (the age difference) didn’t matter too much,” Mulhall said. “But I do remember being a little nervous that first tournament.
“You just have to think about it as it being anybody’s game. You just have to know how to play it, and play the best you can.”
Mulhall’s summer is filled with golf tournaments. She followed the state match play with trips to Boise, Idaho, and Sheridan. She has tournaments lined up in Denver, Las Vegas and California.
The Boise trip was a qualifier for the U.S. Junior Amateur. Mulhall needed to finish in the top two, but took third after the top two finishers split first.
The youngster has continued to improve, which is a scary proposition for her peers.
Mulhall has added 40 yards to her average drive since she won the Wyoming amateur title last summer. She now hits the ball in the 260-yard range consistently.
“I’ve straightened it out too, so it’s consistently in the grid I want it to be in on the course,” she said.