Profile: Skyline’s Norton ends golf career on top of her game

 

Sports is many things. While there are celebrations and accomplishments, there are close calls and near misses. For every heroic story, there is an “agony of defeat.”

And anyone who has ever missed a 12-inch putt will tell you that one foot can be the difference between euphoria and devastation. Golf, especially golf, can be hard on the heart and soul.

So why isn’t Skyline’s Caroline Norton crying in her golf bag? Is that a smile? Did she just laugh?

Oh, the pain. There has to be pain…right?

Norton competed on Thursday at the MHSAA Golf Regionals at Lake Forest Golf Club and helped lead her team to a fourth-place finish with a team score of 357.

The top three teams head to the state finals but the Eagles were quite pleased where they landed since 357 was the best team score in school history.

Norton, a senior, fired an 85 on the day. The top three individual golfers also qualify for the state meet, a trip Norton missed by just one stroke.

Oh, the pain. There has to be pain…right?

“My goal coming into (Thursday) was to break 90 and I did that so I was very happy,” said Norton, who not only beat her goal by five strokes but also accomplished the score on a cold and rainy day.

Did she say “very happy?” One more made putt. One better chip. And her golf career would be swinging into next week.

But while she admits “it would have been nice” to play in the state finals, Caroline Norton is more than content with her score and especially with how her team fared. She knows she did her best – so regrets or disappointment are left in the bag.

“I was surprised I shot an 85 considering the conditions were awful,” she said. “I thought it would be a lot more difficult to accomplish my goal under those conditions. But I thought it went great.”

Norton said that when she reached the back nine on her scorecard she felt something was just “on” and that sub-90 round was definitely on course.

“A lot of times when I get to the back nine I start to feel tired,” she said. “I felt energized and just believed that I could do it.”

And it all started – where it always starts – on the tee.

“My drives are my strength and I was driving the ball pretty well,” she said. “That’s a big key for me to get off to a good start on each hole.”

Norton began her career playing junior golf at Travis Pointe Country Club.

“I started playing when I was about 6 but stopped playing for a while,” she said. “I picked it back up when I got to Skyline.”

Norton played all four years of varsity golf and moved up to the No. 1 spot as a senior this season.

“This is our home course so it was nice to have that home-course advantage but we really played well as a team,” she said on Thursday. “Everyone played their absolute best and I couldn’t be more proud of how we did.”

All five Eagles (left, with coach) finished under 100 with three breaking 90. Nikki Lama (88), Tasha Potter (97), Cammi Tirico (89) and Macca Muhammad (95) rounded out the Skyline scorecard.

The Eagles’ 357 score was 12 strokes better than fifth-place finisher Pioneer.

Saline finished first overall with an impressive team score of 324 with Northville second (338) and Plymouth third (346).

Norton’s best sport is tennis, where she is an ace for the Skyline varsity team. She played No. 1 singles as a sophomore, and last year at two singles helped lead the Eagles to a second place at Regionals and an eighth-place finish at the D-1 state finals.

She lost to the No. 1 seed at the state meet after winning her first-round match.

“I hope to play tennis in college and I’m looking at a few different schools right now and most likely studying business or marketing,” she said.

Norton went out on top on the links. Her 85 was the best score of her high school career and helped lead the team to its best score – not a bad way to end a career.

 

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