One of the best female golfers in the area will be competing in her club's top event this weekend.
Hollidaysburg's Michelle Day will tee it up at Scotch Valley Country Club this Saturday and Sunday hoping to capture her eighth club championship, a record total for women at Scotch Valley.
Although Day has been a dominant force among women golfers in Blair County over the past decade, she actually grew up in Bethel Park, near Pittsburgh. Day learned the game from her parents who were avid golfers at Rolling Hills Country Club, located in nearby McMurray.
Photo for the Mirror by Ken Love
Michelle Day practices her drive at the Blair County Golf range in Hollidaysburg.
As a youth, she participated in many events conducted by the Ladies Western Golf Association.
At one particular junior event she learned an important lesion from her mother, who was following her play.
"I was finishing my round on the last hole at the Field Club in Pittsburgh, and I was really struggling," Day said. "But my mother was there, and quitting was out of the question. I think that scored a 15 on that hole - but I did finish."
After graduating from Seton-LaSalle High School as a star member of the girls golf team, Day headed off to Purdue University to pursue a degree in both finance and accounting. Although she had no immediate plans to play collegiate golf, Day ended up trying out for the Boilermakers' women's golf team as a walk-on.
After making the squad, she played for the team during her last two years of eligibility.
"I really enjoyed the experience," Day said. "The competition was great, and it helped to improve my game."
After graduation, Day went to work in the Harrisburg area. Seventeen years ago, she settled in Hollidaysburg, where she now works as a financial advisor for L.R. Webber Associates. Working full-time and raising three children left little time for golf - until about 10 years ago, when she became a member at Scotch Valley.
It didn't take long for Day's golf game to return. She quickly began shooting competitive scores and won the first of her club championships in 2003.
Current Scotch Valley club pro D.R. Long was impressed by Day's golf game from the start.
"Michelle has one of the best golf swings in our area," Long said. "Watching her swing is similar to seeing a top college player or even an LPGA golfer swing a club."
Day's fine play has continued in other important local events. She's had several top finishes with longtime partner Darlene Grove in the annual Iron Masters Ladies Classic. In addition, she has become one of the leading contenders every year for the women's title in the annual Greater Altoona tournament.
Fellow Scotch Valley member Chris Sisto has known Day for several years.
"Michelle and I get to play together quite often," Sisto said. "She is, without a doubt, the most talented female golfer in our area. Her swing is unbelievable - and she is so consistent."
After several close finishes, Day finally captured the Greater Altoona women's crown in 2010. Last year she won again - by six shots over her closest competitor. In addition to that title, she'll be looking to defend her club championship at Scotch Valley this weekend.
"I really enjoy everything about golf. I enjoy the peacefulness of playing along with the competitiveness," Day said. "And I definitely try to not let it stress me out. I just hit the shot, find it and hit it again."