CLARION, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Kameron Kerle was swinging a golf club while still in diapers.
McKayla Kerle started a little bit later.
The Clarion Area High School golfers have both recently found themselves atop the junior leaderboards.
On Tuesday, Kameron won the Boys 13-14 Age Division at the Tam O’Shanter Junior Open in Hermitage.
McKayla was second in the Girls 15-18 division at Tam O’Shanter.
In the two-round Great Lakes Junior Golf Championship, held Sunday and Monday at Lake View Golf Club in Erie, McKayla won the Girls 16-19 division by two stokes.
Kameron, who will be a freshman this fall at Clarion, also won the Boys 13-15 division title there, firing a plus-4 160 over the two rounds to win by 10 strokes.
Both Kameron and McKayla came away with 2021 tour and season Great Lakes Junior Golf championships in their age groups.
“It was definitely a strong competition traveling to Erie,” said Jackie Kerle, Kameron and McKayla’s mother and also the assistant golf coach at Clarion. Her husband and the duo’s father, Jay, is the head golf coach with the Bobcats. “It was nice to be able to bring championships home.”
While Kameron was trying to mash drives not long after he could walk, McKayla began lining up putts when she was 10.
It was kind of a must. Golf is a big part of the Kerle family.
“I think she thought, ‘If I want to be a part of this family, I guess I’m going to have to do this. This is what you people do,’” Jackie said, chuckling. “In the past couple of years she’s really started to take it seriously.”
McKayla, a junior at Clarion, won Great Lakes Junior season and tour championships in 2020 in the 13-15 division, but got off to a rocky start in 2021 after moving up to the 16-19 group.
She was still able to find a way to earn enough tour points to qualify for the championship earlier this week. Regaining confidence in her swing was a key. So was her mental toughness.
Her tournament began Sunday much like her season: shaky. But, again, she recovered to fire a 39 — including a pair of birdies — over the final nine holes to put herself back into contention, one stroke off the lead, heading into the final round Monday.
In that final round, McKayla was consistent and held off AnnaMarie Zinram for the victory.
Devon Lauer also had a strong showing Tuesday at Tam O’Shanter.
Lauer, a sophomore on Clarion’s golf team, finished second in the Boys 15-16 division.
The Clarion High School golf season begins Aug. 19.