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Young Gold Star Has Local Ties

Posted on Friday, January 4, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Future is right for Ashley Gilliam
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Jody Hargis
In 2014, a young seventh grader from Coffee County went to Augusta, Georgia, and participated in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship at the legendary Augusta National Golf Club where the Masters is held each April. She finished in third place among some of the best future golfers in the country. As an encore, she returned to Augusta in 2015, and repeated the feat, as she finished third once again. It was just the beginning for Ashley Gilliam as she has worked her way in becoming one of the best golfers, not only locally, statewide, or nationally, but worldwide.
Ashley is now a senior and has been on a whirlwind tour of golf all over the country during the past two years. She is the daughter of Marshall and Jennifer Gilliam of Manchester. Her father is a 1989 graduate of Grundy County High School where he starred in baseball and basketball. Ashley’s grandparents also called Grundy County home as her grandmother, Carol Meeks Gilliam, grew up in Coalmont and taught school in Pelham for many years. Her grandfather, the late Jimmy Gilliam grew up in Pelham and worked for Sequachee Valley Electric for many years.
Ashley committed to Mississippi State during her freshman year. She has had a phenomenal experience in the world of golf during these last four years. The last two years have been extremely busy for her as she has participated in events all across the country. During this time, she has had many accomplishments that have given the golfing world a glimpse of what this young lady can do even before she hits her first tee shot in the SEC.
Below are the highlights that have moved Ashley to the top of her class in Tennessee. She is second overall in the state. She is ranked 18th in the nation.
Career highlights
• Became a two time AJGA Champion
• Won a USGA Championship as a member of Team Tennessee leading to the 2017
USGA Women’s State team title
• Qualified for and competed in five USGA National Champion-ships
• Won three straight Ten-nessee Schooldays Championships (A feat that was first accomplished by her mother, Jennifer in ‘89, ‘90, ‘91. Only one other young lady accomplished this before Ashley completed the tri-fecta in ‘16, ‘17, and ‘18)
• Won two straight Ten-nessee Girls’ Junior Ama-teur Champi-onships
May 2018
• Played in USGA Women’s Four Ball Championship in Los Angeles, CA. She and her teammate qualified for match play and lost in the round of 32 (They played 36 holes of stroke play to reach match play)
June 2018
• Won 3rd straight Tennessean Schooldays Tournament. Shot a McCabe Golf Course record 62 in the stroke play portion. She was top seed in match play and won the championship on the 23rd hole.
• Qualified for US Women’s Amateur Championship in Kansas. She was a medalist there, as she shot a two under par 70.
July 2018
• Won the 54th Tennessee Girls’ Junior at Old Fort Golf Club in Murfreesboro. (She holds the record for lowest 54-hole total and low-est single round in the 54 year cham-pionship history). In the 2017 tournament she set what was then the 53-year-old tourna-ment record for a single round and 54 holes with a 66 in the second round and an 8 under par total. In this year’s event, she won her second straight title and broke her on 54-hole record by sev-en shots with a 15 under par total score. She made only one bogey in 54 holes.
• Played in the US Girls’ Jun-ior Amateur at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, CA. She was one of 64 out of 154 to advance to match play. She lost in the round of eight after winning in the rounds of 64, 32, and 16. This gave her an exemption into the 2019 US Girls’ Junior Championship.
August 2018
• Played in the 118th US Women’s Amateur Championship held at the Golf Club of Tennessee. She was one of only four Tennesseans to make the field of 156 for the championship. She shot three under par in 36 holes of stroke play to advance to match play. She was the only Tennessean to reach match play and lost in the round of 64.
• Played in the AJGA Swinging Skirts Invitational in San Diego, CA. She shot a final round 70 to finish 15th out of 72 participants.
• Played in her first high school match for Tullahoma High School and shot 64.
September 2018
• Played in the AJGA Girls’ Championship at Furman, South Carolina. She shot a two under par over the three-day tournament to finish 8th of 72 girls.
• Qualified for 2019 US Women’s Four Ball Championship with her partner in New Jersey.
• They shot five under to win medalist hon-ors.
• Region 4 AAA Individual Champion in TSSAA. She shot a five un-der 67 at Old Fort in Murfreesboro. Tullahoma won the team championship handily and advanced to the state.
• Qualified for and played in 3rd straight Junior Cup. She was named the girls’ MVP of Team East.
October 2018
• Was named to the 2018 Rolex Junior All – American team
November 2018
• Invited to and played in the 2018 Rolex Tournament of Champions and attended the Rolex All – American Awards Banquet at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
• Named Tennessean All Mid – State team (High School).
• Named 2018 Tennessee Golf Associa-tion Women’s Player of the Year.
• Signed National Letter of Intent to play at Mississippi State on November 14th.
As you can see, this young lady has accom-plished a lot in her young career. There is obviously more to come. Hopefully, one day we can see this her on the LPGA tour. She definitely is off to fast start of reaching that level of competition.
It is always a proud and enjoyable time to follow the accomplishments of young athletes like Ashley. It means even more when people here can relate to this young lady through her family ties in our community.