Tyla McAffity places first with teammate, Catherine Vivongsy, at Golf in Paradise Tournament

Sean Herbst, Sports Copy Editor

Tyla McAffity, a sophomore at Athens Drive High School and a member of the Athens Women’s Golf Team, had the opportunity of representing ‘The First Tee of the Triangle’ in a golf tournament Feb. 14 to Feb. 17. McAffity and her teammate, Catherine Vivongsy, finished in a First Place tie at the Golf in Paradise Champions Challenge tournament.

McAffity and Vivongsy placed tied for first out of 24 golfers during the 27-hole, weekend long tournament. During Fri., Feb. 14, the duo shot a 31, five under par (par is the predetermined number of strokes a course should take). The next day, McAffity and Vivongsy scored an even par, 36. Sunday, Feb. 17, the last day of the Golf in Paradise Champions Challenge, Tyla and Catherine shot another five under par round, a 31, enough to edge them into first.

“It was definitely surprising at first because we were not expecting to play as well against a very challenging field. In the end, we were very proud of ourselves and we definitely felt we played well and deserved the win,” said McAffity.

McAffity, who has been playing golf for nine years and competing in tournaments for five years, has been able to prove her high rankings time and time again. Tyla was tied for first on the Athens Golf team during the 2018-2019 season. In addition to this, she made the 2018-2019 North Carolina state playoffs, finishing tied for 39 out of 78 competitors.

“The reason that I have been playing golf both for fun and competitively for so long is that golf is something that can help me relax whenever I’m stressed out. The thing that has kept me competitive over the years is just challenging myself to see how I can do under pressure,” said McAffity.

According to McAffiity, no qualifications were required to enter the tournament, although the competition had very low handicaps (number of strokes over par you should take on an 18-hole course), proving tough competition.

“Going into the tournament, I was definitely nervous because the competition was so good. I thought that I wasn’t going to be prepared because my handicap is six and everyone else’s is 1-3. But in the end, I just had to remember to play my game regardless of the handicap,” said McAffity.

Playing at Quail Creek Country Club, Tyla and Catherine outlasted all other 20 opponents besides Ryan Myer and Brendan Cleary, who were announced co-winners. All of the 24 competitors were also admitted into a private clinic, along with a private PGA Superstore event full of putting competitions, prizes and shopping.

“Throughout the tournament, the competition definitely helped me. Since me and my partner won, it was really motivating to know that against a challenging field I can be successful. Because of this win, I feel so much more confident because I know that when the pressure is on, I can show up and win,” said McAffity.