Sierra Brooks, 14, about to hit her stride
ORLANDO, Fla. – By the time Sierra Brooks had completed her first AJGA Wyndham Cup on July 26, she had compiled an individual record of 3-1-0 and was celebrating on Bay Hill’s 18th green with the winning East team.
The petite 14-year-old with the thick blonde braid disappeared in that crowd of screaming upperclassmen, but one day it’s likely she’ll be at the forefront of such a scene. Teammate Jaye Marie Green, who made the Wyndham Cup her last event as a junior before heading off to LPGA Q-School in the fall, predicts that will be sooner rather than later.
“She’s so good, she has so much potential it’s unbelievable,” Green said at the end of the tournament. “For her only being 14 and for her to hit it as far as she does for being young and little? It’s just unbelievable. . . . I’m scared for everyone else.”
Brooks was the youngest female member of the East team at the annual throwdown between 20 of the top players from the East and 20 of the top players from the West. On paper, Brooks looked like the most inexperienced too. Her play didn’t reflect it.
Brooks, who lives in nearby Sorrento, Fla., only began playing AJGA events in April 2011, but won three times in her debut season, including in her first two starts. The Wyndham Cup hit her radar hard.
“I’ve been playing pretty solid and I was in the 12th spot going into Rolex (Tournament of Champions),” she said. “I knew that in order to get into this, I had to play well. I did at Roelx TOC and I got in and I was just so happy, it was so awesome, such a good feeling.”
Once on the team, Brooks drew veteran pairings. She teamed with Nicole Morales in the opening four-ball session on July 24, and the pair came back to beat West team big dogs Alison Lee and Esther Lee with back-to-back birdies in the final two holes. One of those belonged to Brooks, who holed a long birdie putt at No. 17.
The following day, Brooks had Green on her bag during mixed four-balls.
“Jaye helped me also just with mental and everything,” Brooks said. “Just kind of kept me pumped.”
The week culminated in a 3-and-2 defeat of Summar Roachell in Thursday singles. Brooks called it one of the best weeks of her young career, especially because of the added benefit of having older players like Green and Mariah Stackhouse around. She spent considerable time picking brains about college and how to prep for it.
“I take so much from this, it’s defnitely one of the best learning experiences I’ve had ever.”