McDaniel signs scholarship with East Central University

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 23, 2007 - Tuesday was the day Whitney McDaniel had been aiming toward for the last five years. It was the day she signed a college golf scholarship.

McDaniel, a senior at Sulphur Springs High School, inked a binding letter of intent in front of her parents and coaches to play golf for East Central University in Ada, Okla.

McDaniel started taking golf seriously in middle school, and it paid off when she signed the scholarship offer.

I started playing seriously in eighth grade," she recalled. "I was a real big softball player when I was younger, but golf was always around my family. I've been around it since I was born. In eighth grade, I started thinking about college then and which sport I was most likely to get a college scholarship in, and luckily golf did work out."

It worked out because of the work she put into it.

As a senior, she finished as district champion, fourth at regional and 12th at the UIL state tournament. She carded a 75 in her final round as a high school golfer, just one stroke off her best round of 74, which is believed to be the lowest ever shot in a tournament by an SSHS female golfer.

The daughter of Wade and Wendi McDaniel, Whitney decided on East Central, a university of about 4,600 students which is beginning its women's golf program in the fall. The Tigers play in the Lone Star Conference, a member of the NCAA Division II.

"I went to visit the campus about a month and a half ago, and it was very nice and very well-kept," she said. "It's a small town, all right there together, and it just seemed like the right fit for me."

In going to college, McDaniel will be able to concentrate a little more on her golf game. In high school, she had to also divide her time as the school's drum major.

She will major in kinesiology with the goal of becoming an athletic trainer.

"I just want to be successful in golf, to get better and also, grade-wise, make it," she said. "The overall game of golf is very competitive and I'm a very competitive person. It's also a solo sport and you rely on yourself if you do good or not."

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