By Tim Chambers
One senior Longhorn golfer is hoping that the third time can be a charm in 2016. Isaiah Penley’s sights are set high for his senior season despite playing for his third golf coach in three years.
Matt Bray will take over the program from Austin Atwood, who is now the athletic director, in addition to his role as head basketball coach. Penley is excited about playing for Bray.
“He’s a great guy that I like and respect a lot,” said Penley. “I know he will put a lot of effort into it which will help us be competitive. He was a great football coach and I’m sure he will do the same with golf. I am happy with who they selected.”
Bray will be happy with Penley too when he watches him tee off. The senior standout has his sights set on the state tournament after just missing out during his junior campaign.
“I’ve been working at Red Tail over the summer so I’ve spent a lot of time at the course,” said Penley. “I’ve played a lot but not like I’ve wanted to. It would be a huge accomplishment for me as a golfer to make the state my senior year, but I want to keep the team first. You want to be a leader and set a good example for your teammates. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Penley’s role at Red Tail is working as the cart guy.
“They come in and I load them up. I love talking to the golfers, but I’ll have to slow down a bit shortly to get ready for the season. It’s like my home away from home. I love being on and around the golf course.”
Penley expects his team to play a lot of road games when the season begins. He’s always up for that challenge.
“I love traveling around and playing all the different courses and against different people. You get to see a lot of layouts and interesting designs, but I would rather play at Red Tail than anywhere. I know the course well, and I love the way it plays. It’s a huge home advantage for us.”
Penley excels in the classroom as well, but it’s his spiritual life that makes him so much more special.
“I didn’t know the Lord or act the way that I should have when I first started playing,” said Penley. “I did what I could to get by and didn’t follow the rules. Golf is a game of character and integrity and once I knew the Lord, I began to do exactly as the rules say. I had made a confession of faith when I was seven but strayed. I came up to the altar at a camp meeting down at Trade my freshman season. and rededicated my life. That has helped me in all aspects of my life.”
Isaiah credits his dad, Mike, and brother, Zane, as the two people in his life that have taught him the game. They, along with his mom, Jill, serve as role models in his life.
Penley laughed when he learned about this reporter playing sports in high school and college. He gave some sound advice after learning that golf wasn’t one of them.
“You can play golf all your life even if you’re not good at it. You can play it until they put you in the ground.”
Hopefully this reporter will avoid the grave and witness Penley making the state tournament. It couldn’t happen to a better young man.”