2016-10-06 / Sports

Cox sets sights on regional four-peat

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff

NICHOLE COX tees off on No. 5 Monday at the Traverse City Central Invitational. 
Photo: PaulChristiansen NICHOLE COX tees off on No. 5 Monday at the Traverse City Central Invitational. Photo: PaulChristiansen The famous “when pigs fly” phrase is often used to dismiss over-ambitious expectations — like winning four straight regional titles or three straight state championships, for example.

That said, the always-ambitious Nichole Cox couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate “lucky” ball marker.

“I have to have it for every tournament,” said Cox, a senior at Glen Lake. “I’ve had it since I was 7 and I’ve only played two rounds without it so far. I found it on the ground one day at the golf course across the street.”

The front of the gold-and-silver ball marker displays three words around the word golf — par, eagle and bogey (spelled b-o-g-i-e). Better yet, the back of the prized possession shows a flying pig, which Cox uses sparingly.

She said the flying pig is exclusively reserved for “really, really good” shots.

“I haven’t used it yet this season,” she said.

There’s still time to put the flying pig to good use, however, as Cox closes out a distinguished Glen Lake career aiming for, you guessed it, a fourth straight regional title and a third straight Division 4 state championship.

Superstitions aside, the Empire product is favored to do just that, starting tomorrow at Manistee Country Club in the Division 4 Region 19 meet.

Cox owns a streak of top-two finishes spanning multiple seasons and a 2016 scoring average of 74.2.

“I haven’t had any really low scores but I haven’t had any high scores, either, and that’s almost better than having a really low score,” said Cox, a Bowling Green commit. “I’m ready.”

Cox capped the regular season on Monday with a second-place showing in the 11-team Traverse City Central Invitational at the Traverse City Country Club.

She shot just above her average with a 76, three strokes back of Traverse City West sophomore Anika Dy.

“Better than I expected,” Cox said of her performance. “There’s something about that course — I usually don’t do very well there. The fairways are really tight and there’s a lot of trees.”

Cox will hit the links on an unfamiliar course tomorrow at Manistee Country Club, which she referred to as “the hardest one yet.” Surprisingly, she said she had never played there prior to a recent practice round.

She’ll swing her TaylorMade SLDR Driver the same regardless, hoping to see both golf balls and pigs fly.

“She is ready to defend her title,” coach Paul Christiansen said.

With a top-three finish tomorrow, Cox can punch her ticket to the state final at Forest Acres West Golf Course in East Lansing from Oct. 14-15.

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