Fairview senior golfer Amber Greene didn't even know Midway College existed mere months ago.
On Friday, she agreed to be a Midway Eagle for the next four years. The left-handed swinger signed a letter of intent to be part of the school's young golf program in the Fairview High School library.
Midway coach Otis Smith, Fairview coach Ray McKinney and Amber's parents, John and Mary, joined Greene on a table draped in Midway blue on Friday.
Smith first noticed Greene at the Montgomery County Invitational at Mt. Sterling Country Club this past season.
“Everybody was talking about her so, of course, I wanted to go and see what all the fuss was about,” Smith recalled. “I found out she was an excellent player with an excellent attitude. From that point on, I just kind of made it a mission to make her one of my players.”
Midway girls golf will enter its second season in Greene's freshman year. The team had just one member this year, but Smith hopes that number will be at 10 by the time it hits the links again.
Greene said she fell in love with Midway following her visit. The small campus containing a horse farm was appealing. She plans to study criminal justice.
Along with her solid golf game comes a strong academic resume. She racked up straight A's in both her sophomore and junior years at Fairview, and appears to be on her way to a clean sweep of A's as a senior, too.
Said fifth-year Fairview coach Ray McKinney: “She's been in the program from the start. How she is as a person is her biggest asset. As a coach, I didn’t have to worry about her not making grades or not showing up to practice or being lazy. She's a perfect example of what a young student-athlete should do and should be."
Greene was also complimentary toward her coach.
"If it wasn't for him, I would not be here signing to Midway," she said.
Greene became Fairview's third college golf signee since the program's inception. Laken McKinney (Pikeville) and Mariah Humphrey (Asbury) were the other two.
According to McKinney, Greene approached him to reveal her future aspirations three years ago. She set out a goal to be a college golfer.
Even while battling Crohn's Disease, Greene has excelled.
As a junior, she scored an 88 at Sandy Creek Golf Course to qualify for the KHSAA State Tournament. She took fifth in the region tournament as a senior.
Greene competed in the State All "A" Tournament three times.
She also ranked among the top golfers in the Eastern Kentucky Junior Golf Association over the past few summers.
The biggest difference from her eighth-grade year to senior year lies in her long game. Her drive has increased from 120-150 yards to 210 yards on average.
"I just let my natural swing come into play, turning my stance, controlling it consistently," Greene said.
"She's improved, gotten stronger every year," said Smith, also Midway's girls basketball coach and a PGA professional. "With even more dedication in college, she'll be even better."
AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.