CASEY Wild has been hitting golf balls at Wodonga for the best part of a decade, but 2013 was her break out year.
The now 18-year-old won the Victorian Secondary College title in May — battling freezing cold and the odd hail storm at Churchill Park.
A month later it was the North East Women’s title at her home course, Wild defying a crazy cart driver who careered across in front of the 12th tee in the middle of her backswing in the final round.
In early August she teamed with fellow Wodonga golfer and sport scholarship student at Oklahoma Christian College in the US, Catherine Odgers, only to fall at the last hurdle in what would have been an incredible triple-whammy at the Victorian Country Championship.
The pair won the foursomes title at the Cobram-Barooga golf club on the Monday, tied for first in the 36-hole stroke play tournament over Tuesday and Wednesday, before losing their semi-finals that could have put both into the final of the matchplay.
Add to that an unbeaten run in matchplay as captain of the Victorian State Schools team in the nationals at the Bellarine Peninsula in the same month and winning six of her seven matches for pennant powerhouse Commonwealth in the metropolitan season and it has been a whirlwind 12 months.
Now having finished her VCE, the former Wodonga Senior Secondary student has her eyes set on the US and a golf college scholarship with the highly rated Tarleton State University in Texas.
The unassuming Wild admits it has been a big year.
“It hasn’t been too bad,” she said this week.
“The highlight for me was captaining the Victorian state team and being undefeated in the match play at the nationals — it was tough competition.
“But I love matchplay.
“I won six out of seven in Melbourne pennants last year and just have a pretty good record overall.
“I find it a little easier to concentrate when my direct opponent is playing with me, against me.”
Wild will again play for Commonwealth in the upcoming pennant season.
But by August she hopes to be at Tarleton with another up-and-coming Victorian junior Jess Pickwick.
It was Pickwick who made the final of the matchplay at the Victorian Country Championship knocking out Odgers in the semi-final.
“I’ve been talking to the coach at Tarleton, talking with Kat (Odgers) about her experience in Oklahoma and Jess who is already there,” the 2-handicapper said.
“It’s a great opportunity and a chance to continue with my golf and study kinesiology (human movements) with a view to getting into the sports science area.
“But before then I will just continue working on my golf — playing with my swing, looking for a few extra metres.”
Wild said she was never a natural talent.
“I guess it has been a lot of hard work,” she said.
“Dad was the junior coach at Wodonga and he had me down there from the time I was about eight.
“Now that I have finished school I can concentrate on my golf and the upcoming pennant season in Melbourne and here in the North East for Wodonga.
“My strength is around the greens and most of my practice at the moment is with irons and the long game.
“I also go to the gym — trying to build up some core strength, when I can.
“I think my game has improved in the past year, maybe not handicap wise but certainly I’m hitting the ball better.”
This is Wild’s first nomination in the Young Achiever of the Year award.