Pope's Makenna Brindley has the talent and the work ethic to match.
She completed a successful high school career with rounds of 76-81 for an 11th-place finish in the Class AAAAAA state tournament at Cobblestone Golf Course in Acworth.
For her efforts, Brindley is the 2019 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Girls Golfer of the Year. It was an honor she said came as a surprise.
“I heard the voicemail left for me that I had been selected, and I didn’t know what to say,” Brindley said. “This is just great, honestly. I have had the luxury of playing with and against great girls in this county, so they all have made me better.”
Brindley, like any typical athlete, went through a bit of adversity. Four years at Pope taught her a lot about coming into her own.
During her first two years of high school, Brindley played with her older sister, Alexis. She learned a lot from her sister, and it was difficult knowing the last two years would be on her own.
Makenna Brindley said her sister leaving for Winthrop College was a tough change.
“I had my sister with me early on at Pope,” Brindley said. “It was bittersweet, but it wasn’t going to last forever. When she graduated, I had to grow into my own player and make my own legacy.”
Brindley had two goals -- first, to earn all-county recognition, and second, to play in the state championship. She fulfilled them both.
On March 2, Brindley and teammate Gabby Brooking shot 74 in a Ryder Cup-style event on Jekyll Island, which placed them No. 13 of 90 teams.
Pope coach Matthew Fox said the trip to Jekyll epitomized Brindley’s work ethic.
“Each year, we go to Jekyll Island and, for the past four years, I noticed something interesting about our girls, especially (Brindley),” Fox said. “She is always studying and reading on the bus. That just tells me that she is focused, even on the way to a big tourney. She doesn’t waste any time.”
Brindley labeled Fox as her “mental coach.” Whether it was a bad hole or a lackluster day of golf, Fox was there to keep her spirits high.
“Sometimes, she would really beat herself down over a bad hole, and I am there to either give her a high-five or a hug,” Fox said. “I will tell her to focus on the next hole. The last one is in the past now. Whether she needs an even-par to stay in the match, I am there to let her know.
Fox has known Brindley since the eighth grade. He coached both sisters and said they resemble one another in work ethic.
“(It) is just phenomenal,” Fox said. “They have different aspects to their game, but they’re preparation and in-game performance is unmatched.”
Like her sister, Brindley signed to play at Winthrop, where she plans to major in business administration, but she said reuniting with Alexis was not a factor in her recruitment.
“It’s great to say that I play with my sister again,” Makenna Brindley said. “Coach (Jodi) Wendt has been trying to get me to come play there for years. She is just an amazing woman, and I can’t wait to play under her.”
2019 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County
Girls All-County Golf Team
McKenna Brindley, Pope, Sr.
Cat Cutter, Walton, Sr.
Mackensey Kaseta, Walton, So.
Madison Panter, Allatoona, Jr.
Audrey Stasko, Walton, Jr.
Ella Stoll, Walker, Fr.
Sara Tilton, Allatoona, So.
Campbell: Ana Herndon, Julia Leach; Harrison: Shelby Blalock.