June 14, 2009
STARKVILLE -- Starkville Academy golfer Korakot Simsiriwong has returned to her native Thailand for rest and relaxation before schools starts again in August.
She took her golf clubs with her.
Simsiriwong wants to keep her game sharp so she can have more success on the course when she returns to the United States.
"My dad (Pramoth) got me started playing golf and I love it," Simsiriwong said. "I definitely want to keep playing."
After coaching Simsiriwong her sophomore year, Starkville Academy golf coach Clay Stringer believes she has what it takes to excel at a higher level.
Simsiriwong led Starkville Academy to a first-place finish in the Mississippi Private School Association Class AAA North Tournament, then placed fifth individually at the MPSA Class AAA State Tournament. She came in 15th among boys and girls of all ages at the MPSA Overall Tournament.
"She is extremely consistent," Stringer said. "She has a smooth swing and never tries to overhit it and is very controlled. She has a very level head and doesn''t get really high or low."
Stringer said Simsiriwong has a stable demeanor and never seems to get frustrated on the course.
Simsiriwong hopes to take the lessons she learned while playing in the postseason and improve for her junior and senior years at Starkville Academys.
"It was tons of fun and I gained some experience hopefully we can do it again next year," Simsiriwong said. "I knew if I worked hard, everything would come to me."
Simsiriwong finished first at the Tri-State Championships, while her 2008 tournament victories include both the local and district Optimist International Qualifier (ages 14-15), the Mississippi Woman Golf Association Tournament (ages 16-18), the 40th Trusted Choice Big 1 Junior Classic (ages 16-18), Mississippi Junior Golf Association Event No. 1 (ages 12-18), and the Girls Junior Amateur.
She hopes to return from Thailand in time to defend her Junior Am title.
"It''s in August so I hope to be back in time," Simsiriwong said.
Simsiriwong also won the Optimist International Qualifiers local and district in 2006 (ages 12-13) and the local again in 2007 (ages 14-15), the Mississippi Junior Golf Association Event No. 1 in 2007 (ages 12-18), and the Greenwood Invitational for her age group (12-18) in 2006.
Simsiriwong moved to Starkville to attend school in 2005 and her sister, Jutima, was already at Mississippi State. Korakot loves Starkville Academy and the town.
"Starkville is not too big or too small," Simsiriwong said. "It''s my kind of city and everything just clicked."
Jutima is glad to have her sister in Starkville and has done everything she can to help her get adjusted.
"I''m just trying to support her all I can," Jutima said. "I guess you can just call me her chauffeur (to tournaments)."
Simsiriwong wants to be on MSU''s golf team in the future and Stringer doesn''t see why that can''t become a reality.
"I think she has a very good chance to play college golf," Stringer said. "Depending on how much she improves and how many breaks she gets, I might would say she could probably start on some of the mini-tours (in professional golf) at least and play golf for a living if she wanted."
Simsiriwong was awarded the Most Valuable Golfer at Starkville Academy the last three years and Starkville Academy Athletic Director Glenn Schmidt said she has been one of the highlights of the program.
Schmidt also pointed to the hires of football coach Brian Sims and baseball coach Justin Brewer and the addition of other coaches as positive things happening at Starkville Academy.
"We''ve been working really hard in making some improvements and some changes," Schmidt said. "We''ve got a full junior high football and baseball staff by adding some coaches.
"We feel like we are closing the gap on being a highly competitive 3A school. That''s the goal in every sport."