High school golfer lands spot in U.S. Women’s Open

As one of the top-ranked junior golfers in the country, Caldwell Country (Ky.) High School senior-to-be Emma Talley knew her summer was going to be spent traveling to some of the best national tournaments in the country.

Just last week, Talley was supposed to be in Oregon for one of the biggest events of the year, but a phone call forced her to pack up her things and head home.

The phone call happened to be from the United States Golf Association, offering Talley a spot in the U.S. Women's Open, one of four professional major championships on the golf schedule every year.

As Talley's father told The Times Leader, the choice was made prior to the first round in Oregon, and since his daughter had already played three straight weeks of golf, the family figured it made sense to skip the tournament, head home, and get ready for the biggest tournament of the 17-year-old's young career.

"I just figured I needed to get back and have a lesson so I want to prepare for this the best I could," Emma Talley told GolfWeek. "If I wasn't as tired as I am, I would have definitely done that."

Talley, who already committed to the University of Alabama, will be playing in her first professional major, which is a huge honor for a player her age. But that didn't make the decision any less difficult. The tournament she ended up missing was the American Junior Golf Association's Tournament of Champions, an event that honors winners on the most prestigious junior golf tour in the country.

Talley had won the last three events, and was going for an unheard-of four-peat in Oregon, which made the decision to take a week off and prepare even more difficult with the winning streak on the line.

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"In a way, I'm upset about it but at the same time I can't be upset about it because it's the U.S. Open," she told GolfWeek. "I may make it again, I may not. Hopefully I will make it a lot in the future but you never know."

Even though Talley was upset to miss out on the junior tournament, the chance to play with the top players in the world was one most golfers would have a hard time passing up.

Hard as it is to believe, she won't be the only high schooler in this week's field. Talley will be joined by 17-year-old Georgia resident Mariah Stackhouse, who will be making the trip to the Broadmoor Golf Course in Colorado Spring, Colo.

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