Twins had me Rushing to keep up

By Aaron Graff

Golf is a game I have played almost 10 years, but two SIU golfers have been playing longer and have a better work ethic.

I challenged twin senior golfers, Ashleigh Rushing and Cassie Rushing to a nine hole round of golf. The two instantly gave me grief for being a left-handed golfer.


Cassie is a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection. Her career low score for 18 holes is 68, and she has a 76.4 18-hole average this season for the Salukis. She has three top-five finishes and six top-10 finishes this year, which also dates back to the fall season.

Ashleigh has a 79.1 average this season and has a low round of 71. She has one top-five finish and three top-10 finishes for her senior season.

As soon as they both hit their first tee shot, I knew it was going to be a long day. They were both flawless drives, and I mistakably tried to muscle up on my first shot.

My coaches have told me the club will do the work, but I still have trouble comprehending that.

Golf is a sport where less is more. When a golfer tightens his swing too much, the ball does not travel as far. Even after my second shot on the first hole, I still had not made it to their tee shots.

My round started with a triple bogey, which pretty much put me out of contention. Ashleigh was already three strokes ahead of me, and Cassie was two ahead of me.

My drive on the next hole went way right, and the sisters both hit their ball right up the middle. My ball would have traveled as far as theirs if I had hit it square, but my direction was not consistent and my ball went right all day.

They both were on the green waiting for me to chip up. Since I had never played at Hickory Ridge Golf Course before, I misjudged the distance and hit a 5-iron when I should have hit an 8-iron. My ball was easily 30 yards past the green, and my next shot went into the sand.

I double bogeyed the second hole, and was well out of contention. Ashleigh added three more strokes to her lead on me and Cassie added two more. The competition was clearly between the twins.

Finally, on the third hole I got my first bogey, however, we played from the women’s tee box. But, I finally tied Cassie on a hole.

My momentum was destroyed by the next hole, but I was starting to get my swing back in form.

The eighth hole was exciting, both sisters put tee shots near the hole. I could not aim left to compensate my draw because there was water left of the green. With my luck, I would have hit the ball straight into the water if I had adjusted my swing.

My ball traveled through the wooded area, right of the hole and somehow managed to get through. Cassie helped me find my ball, which was right next to the cart path. My stance affected my shot, which went all of seven yards in front of me.

At that point, the photographers turned off their cameras, again proving my bad luck. In ten years of golf, it was the greatest golf shot I have ever hit. It was roughly a 40-yard lob wedge shot. The ball landed on the front of the green and rolled in the hole for my first par of the day.

I pared the final hole and finished with a 51. Ashleigh shot a 36 and Cassie shot a 39. The twins said they have not consistently shot in the 50s since they were in fifth grade.

My best nine-hole score is 42, which I have only accomplished a few times.

Golf is also a sport where it is bad to get angry. My typical round starts out average, and I have one bad hole, which causes me to choke on the rest of the round. My composure was calm against the Rushings, which helped a little.

The women’s golf team competes this weekend in the Bradley Invitational at Bradley University.

Aaron Graff can be contacted at [email protected]@Aarongraff_DE or 536-3311 ext. 269