LEESBURG -- If you had told Lee County die-hard softball player Christian Liggin in the ninth grade that by the time she'd graduated that she'd be a two-time region champ and headed to Coastal Georgia on a scholarship -- but for golf, rather than softball -- here's how she would've responded.
"No way," she laughed. "I never saw myself where I am now. You just hear about people who are good at golf starting way earlier, and here I was -- I didn't even really start playing until I was a sophomore."
But boy has she come a long way.
Liggin won Region 1-AAAA low medallist honors for the second year in a row this year and is now headed to Brunswick to see where her new life on the links leads her. She's certainly worthy of the scholarship -- not to mention The Herald's 2010 Player of the Year for girls golf.
Liggin's coach, Cristi Griffin, said that while she was proud of her star player after finding out Liggin had won, it really wasn't a total surprise.
"I've watched her put in so many hours and just progress so much these last two years. It's amazing," Griffin said.
Liggin gave up softball after her sophomore year to play golf, finding it "more enjoyable." She said Lady Trojans softball coach Lynn Avery even congratulated her recently on all her success.
"She just came up and hugged my neck and told me how proud of me she was," Liggin said. "That meant a lot."
But the decision to give up her longtime bread-and-butter sport didn't come easy at first.
"(When I switched to golf full-time). I wasn't good at all at first," she said. "But then between my sophomore and junior years, I shaved 10 strokes off my game and there were days when I would practice four hours at a time -- sometimes all day -- until I felt satisfied (with my game)."
Liggin, whose low round of the year of 75 came at the region tournament, has had help on her game from local Albany pro and former touring pro Sonny Skinner, who got her ready for life on a college golf team.
Now all that's left for Liggin, who wants to be a nurse, is to make the latest transition in her life.
"I'm just ready for college," she said. "I never knew I'd be going because of golf, but now that I am, I can't wait."