June 24, 2016


McCloskey enjoys being a teen

WESTFIELD CENTER — Golf can be a consuming sport.

Hours and hours of practice are never out of the question, simply because it’s what you have to do to stay on top of your game.

Because of this, many players at the Westfield Junior PGA Championship eat, sleep and breathe the links.

Lisa McCloskey is different. While golf is a big part of her life, she doesn’t want to miss out on the fun that comes with being a teenager, either.

McCloskey isn’t an obsessive golfer stuck in a 15-year-old’s body. She’s a 15-year-old who loves to play golf. And cook. And travel. And hang out with her friends.

“During weekends I’ll practice, but I’ll find time for movies,” said McCloskey, who lives in Montgomery, Texas and added she enjoys any good comedy flick.

The honor student also finds time for homework because advanced placement classes have a lot more weight than a club, a ball and a tee.

“I definitely want to go to college,” said McCloskey, whose Friday round was closely watched by Texas A&M coach Trelle McCombs. “From there, hopefully I’m good enough to go pro.”

McCloskey won the Texas 4A individual state title and Montgomery High win its seventh straight 4A state crown this spring. With a Polo Golf ranking of 14th, she certainly can play with the top junior golfers in the world, but that’s where the similarities end.

McCloskey’s mother, Maria, hails from Cucuta, Columbia. She met Lisa’s father, Jeff, when he was on a business trip for Occidental Petroleum. Without the unique twist of fate stepping in, Lisa would have never been thought of.

Along with her older brother, Jay, Lisa was born in the South American country and the family eventually found its way to Southern Texas.

The country has not been forgotten thanks to vacations back to Columbia. McCloskey was quick to defend her mother’s native land, which has garnered the reputation of a drug-filled nation over the years.

“It’s different. The infrastructure is not very good,” said McCloskey, who is sitting in a tie for ninth place at 8-over-par after third round action. “But the people are very friendly. When I lived there I never seen (drug lords).

“In the U.S., you think Columbia and you think drugs. (Americans) haven’t been there, so they don’t know.”

Three golf courses surround the McCloskey house — New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens lives a few blocks away — and there is a greenside view from her back porch.

It wasn’t a matter of question of if, but when she would fall in love with the game.

“I like that it’s more mental than physical,” said McCloskey, who has a smooth, clean swing. “It’s different from every other sport.”

Golf is also very competitive, whether it’s player against player or player against the course. While McCloskey enjoys the challenge, it’s the personal side that attracts her to junior tournaments.

“It’s all the people you meet,” McCloskey said. “Sometimes you get gifts and you’re playing really nice courses.”

McCloskey is playing an adult’s game and is doing it very well. Just don’t expect her to stop being a teenager anytime soon.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.