GREENVILLE – Kenna Jenkinson seems like any normal young lady; kind of shy, cute as a button, an infectious smile, eyes that sparkle, and involved in school and family. However, if you spend just a little time as I did on Sunday, October 18th at the Turtle Creek golf course with this High School sophomore, you will find that underneath all that youthful charm is a fiery competitor.
Kenna you see is a normal high school girl, (she even smiles when she tells you she is the “water girl” for the football team!) completely normal…until you start talking golf. It is plain to see that Kenna has 3 passions in her life; her family, her teammates and friends and golf, and unlike most she is wise enough to have those three in the proper order.
By spending just a little time with her, I was impressed by the job her parents, Corey and Christi, have done with her. I also was impressed with Kenna in the fact that she knows what she wants, and is more than willing to work hard for it.
The Jenkinson family is an institution in Greenville. They are all good athletes, and share that athletic ability with each other (Waldo Jenkinson, now in his late 80’s was a high school baseball and basketball official for many years, and still plays golf.)
When I asked Kenna who her toughest competitor was, she said her dad. She can usually get two or three holes up on him when they play together, then according to her, he comes back and usually wins. I don’t think that will happen much longer.
Kenna got interested in golf several years ago because her family plays golf. They have a golf simulator in their home so they can practice and play in the winter. She decided that after a few rounds, golf was her passion. Her parents have gone all in to help her with this passion by getting her swing coaches and putting coaches, those located in Cincinnati are some of the best in Ohio, and being as supportive as they can be.
Kenna is a joy to talk to about golf. You can see the passion in her eyes and the determination in her voice. Although a quiet young lady, when golf is mentioned, she brightens up, and you can feel the determination to succeed in her chosen sport.
She is willing to devote hours to practice and because of proper coaching, knows what to practice. She knows that golf is a target game, and that by repetition of the proper techniques, those targets are hit. She hits those targets a lot as her average score this year has been 38 (but, she quickly adds that average included one really bad round).
She has entered into many tournaments all over and this December will compete in the very elite and prestigious Harder Hall invitational in Sebring, Florida. The past winners of this event have been LPGA stars and Hall of Famer Jo Ann Carner, Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lincicome, Charley Hull, Stacey Lewis, and Nelly Korda just to name a few.
For a young lady from Greenville, Ohio to be invited to an event of this stature is something to brag about…but Kenna won’t, she will just let her play do her talking. You get the feeling just watching her talk about the tournament that the competition excites her and she is not going to be over whelmed by their stature either. She is working to be ready, focused, quietly and with determination…a quiet assassin.
She will tell you that her teammates are very supportive of her, and she of them. Even little sister Piper, from what I hear, is going to be a golfer like her big sister. The most impressive thing to me though was her love of family and teammates. Golf is her passion and goal in life, but she has her priorities in order.
The Jenkinson’s are a good family. Kenna shares their passion for golf and each other. I do believe that in the coming years, we will hear a lot about Kenna Jenkinson. It would not surprise me if she ends up on the LPGA tour…she has that talent and determination.
The road ahead will be difficult for her as many young ladies have tried and failed. I think Kenna is different. The coaching, hours of practice, trips, tournaments, and most of all sheer determination, will help her succeed. She is good, and getting better. I know for certain, that Mom, Dad, little sister, and the rest of the family, along with all of us in Darke County, will be rooting for her. Good people are fun to root for! Kenna is good people!
That’s the way I see it from the sidelines.
Kenna will be competing in the OHSAA DI state championship Friday and Saturday, October 23 and 24 at The Ohio State University Gray Course.
Contributing columnist Mike Stegall a 27 year former OHSAA high school football official and current Darke County Commissioner