Ellie Roth was undaunted.
Even after shooting 76, putting her four shots off the lead after the opening round of the 2020 Elites Cup Invitational, a Texas Junior Golf Tour event with 42 of the best junior golfers at TPC Four Seasons in Irving, she knew 18 holes still remained.
In fact, she told her father, Brad Roth, exactly how she planned to finish the tournament.
“Last night,” he recalled on July 23, “she sat on my couch and said, ‘Daddy, I’m going to win tomorrow. If I speak it, I’m going to will it into existence.’ I couldn’t be prouder of her.”
On July 23 Ellie was nine strokes better than the day before, shooting a 67, good for four under par, a performance which included one eagle and three birdies as she won the girls’ crown by one stroke.
Basically, it was the exact scenario she had described the night before.
“So, after the end of my round yesterday, I was a little bit frustrated,” Ellie admitted. “But I knew that if I improved, I could come out and have a really strong round. I just wanted to stay in the right positive mindset and make sure I was coming into this morning ready to go.”
Ellie was playing in her third consecutive Elites Cup Invitational with the previous editions being held at Frisco’s Stonebriar Country Club and TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney. After the Plano West Senior High graduate struggled in the 2018 tournament, she rebounded nicely in 2019 to finish sixth.
The future Kansas Jayhawk started her final round with back-to-back pars. On the third hole, she scored an eagle, netting a three on a par five to put herself two under par, which is how she finished the front nine.
On the back nine, she added three more birdies to finish four under and seal the victory.
“It’s definitely a big win,” she said. “This is my last junior tournament and to go out like this, to play this well was really meaningful. A little bit emotional, but a really cool way to end.”
And to win on the same course where PGA professionals played in the Byron Nelson Classic until 2018 was a nice bonus for the affable 18-year-old.
“When we play these high-level junior tournaments, we get really lucky to play fantastic courses, so to play well and to play well out here, it definitely does mean a lot,” she said.
Ellie also appreciated having her two biggest fans, her parents, Sharon and Brad Roth, there to celebrate. “Mom and dad have always been at my tournaments. It’s nice to have a family affair at the last one,” Ellie said.
Sharon was elated to see Ellie win, but also looks forward to watching her as a collegiate golfer. “She’s already played in another one of the [Texas Junior] collegiate tournaments and she did really well in that,” Sharon said. “Really looking forward to all the girls that she’s been getting to know on the Kansas team. The coaches are super-supportive, and she just can’t wait to get her life started up there.”
Her coaches at University of Kansas congratulated her on the win and issued kudos on Twitter. But no one was less surprised to see her emerge victorious than dear old dad.
“What I’ve learned about her is she’s capable of anything. She’s one of the hardest-working kids I know,” Brad said. “She is the first one out on the course, she’s the last one to leave. She loves this game and she plays with it with passion. I think that’s what you have to do.”