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Pinckneyville's Megan Breslin is The Southern Illinoisan's Girls Golfer of the Year.

Things came together nicely for Pinckneyville’s Megan Breslin this year. She shot 151 to finish fifth at the Class 1A state golf championships this year.

It may have been her uncanny ability to lock in during tournaments. It might be the fact that she grew up in a golf family — her dad, and coach, is the PGA pro at Pinckneyville’s Red Hawk Country Club, or it might have been a 11th hour decision to change her putting grip.

Whatever the alchemy, Breslin capped an outstanding senior season with a fifth-place finish at state. That makes Breslin The Southern Illinoisan’s Girls Golfer of the Year. She also gained that honor as a sophomore.

While all the aforementioned variables played into Breslin’s solid play at state, the change in her putting grip had the most immediate impact.

“My putting was atrocious,” she said. “It was the state practice round, those greens were so fast. I was three-putting nearly every hole.”

Enter Dan Breslin, father and coach. He suggested she try a cross-handed grip.

“I tried it and my putting improved right there immensely,” she said. “I was so nervous I had never done that before. I only three-putted once.”

Golf truly is a family affair at Pinckneyville. Megan’s twin sister Sarah is also an outstanding player. She placed 12th this year.

“It’s a thrill,” he said. “I can’t describe how thrilling it is, how much fun it is to work with my daughters. Only a father would know. It’s just tremendous.”

Of course, the familiarity leads to some interesting moments on the course.

“Oh, gosh, my dad, I try to listen to him the best I can,” Megan said. “I really do. It’s hard. I know he knows what he’s talking about, but it’s really hard sometimes. It’s dad all the time. I do try to listen.

“I know what he is going to say. Half the time I beat him to it. He does know what he’s talking about.”

Dan concedes there are moments he has to back off. And, it’s not necessarily an intuitive thing.

“There is no little voice (in my mind),” he said. “They tell me. Just a couple looks, it’s true. We’re close enough, they’ll just tell me go get lost”.

Given the results, apparently the Breslin family is doing something right. Megan’s approach to the game may be her best asset. She’s not long off the tee. Her putting has already been discussed. She is an excellent iron player, but there is also her demeanor and course management.

“She’s just steady,” Dan said. “It seems like when it’s a big match, like state, sectional or conference, she never has a bad day. She goes into those important tournaments and never has a bad day. She might get a triple, but she’s always there.”

And, that approach is part of what Megan finds appealing about the game.

“I enjoy the competitiveness about it,” she said. “I also enjoy, of course you can always improve your round. There is always a hole to improve your round on.”

Although she has been playing from the time she was old enough to hold a club, Megan becan to take golf more seriously after her freshman year.

“After my freshman year I realized, I had been to state, that was like my ‘Aha’ moment,” she said. “I was like there are a lot of good girls around here, if I want to be the best, I’m really going to have to step up my game.”

Breslin hopes to do that at the collegiate level next year. She is considering a pair of schools at the Division 1 level. She is confident about making the transition to the college game.

“I know most of the girls I play with at state are playing at the collegiate level,” she said. “Going in as a freshman, I’m not going to be one of the top players. I hope I show enough potential that as a sophomore I can play at the top level.”

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les.winkeler@thesouthern.com

618-351-5088

On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​

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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

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