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Talented threesome leads Faith Lutheran in girls golf

More than a few college golf coaches would consider themselves lucky to have Faith Lutheran High School’s top three girls golfers. And more than a few Division I-A Sunset League girls golf coaches wish the Crusaders weren’t in the newly formed league.

Faith Lutheran’s top golfer, senior Annie Freman, broke a course record by shooting a round of 66 during the AJGA Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship in Springfield, Mo., last month en route to winning the tournament.

The following week in Austin, Texas, at the Trusted Choice Big I National Championship, Freman finished second in a field of 57 of the country’s best girls golfers. She has accepted a full golf scholarship to Santa Clara.

"I was very proud to have shot that course record," Freman said. "Everything just clicked mentally for me."

A close second to Freman is senior Brianna Becker, who finished second behind Freman in the Nevada State Junior Championship at Angel Park this summer. Several Division I colleges are interested in Becker, who says she’s leaning toward attending Hawaii and will decide within the next few weeks.

Her sister Julia, a sophomore, rounds out the Crusaders’ talent-rich top three. All she did this summer was win the Las Vegas City Championship with a two-day total of 4-over-par 148.

The team won its first Sunset League match of the season last week at Aliante by 74 strokes, with Freman (74), Brianna Becker (75) and Julia Becker (77) finishing 1-2-3 in the tournament.

Faith Lutheran travels to Scottsdale, Ariz., this weekend to compete in the Antigua National High School Golf Tournament against some of the best girls’ golf programs in Florida, Texas and Hawaii.

Despite his team’s lopsided victory last week, coach Mark Cheney said keeping the girls focused isn’t difficult.

"The thing with golf is you’re competing against the course and against yourself," Cheney said. "We want to win a state championship this year and shoot a specific number each tournament."

Freman and Brianna Becker have "polar opposite" personalities, Cheney said. Freman is outgoing and expressive, he said, while Brianna Becker has the same competitive fire but doesn’t outwardly show it.

"I’m the goofball, and she keeps me in line," Freman said of Brianna Becker, who she’s known for the seven years she’s been playing golf.

"There are times (Freman) says things we never expect," Cheney said. "The team travels together to tournaments in a van, which most other girls golf teams don’t do."

He wouldn’t expand on those unexpected utterances, though: "We have a saying we stick to: ‘What happens in the van, stays in the van.’ (Freman) has a funny sense of humor. In the heat of competition she’s all business, but in practices it comes out."

Freman is long off the tee, averaging about 270 yards, which gives her a tremendous advantage over most of the fields against which she plays. Her fantastic summer tournament performances have added to her confidence heading into this season, as has the support of her father, who traveled with her through the summer.

"He’s kind of soccer-mom-ish," Freman said. "He’s a big, lovable guy. He’s really shaped my game."

This year Freman and Brianna Becker want to win the state championship. After that, Freman has lofty goals. She hopes to be an All-American, athletically and academically, at Santa Clara, and then she hopes to compete on the LPGA Tour.

Brianna Becker’s 250-yard driving average is extremely long for her 5-foot-3-inch frame. She says it allows her to try to reach most par 5s in two shots, something most other high school girls aren’t able to do. Like Freman, Brianna Becker also wants to play on the LPGA Tour after college.

"In college, a lot of girls have their breakout years," Becker said. "I can do that, too."

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