The big white bow Casey Ott wore over her visor started out as a joke.
It evolved into a good luck charm for the Conway High golfer.
And it became the figurative bow on her mom’s birthday present Wednesday.
Trailing by seven strokes to Fort Smith Southside’s Sydney Staton entering the final round of the 7A girls state golf tournament at Centennial Valley Golf Club, Ott dodged several potential bogey bullets and fired a 5-under 67 Wednesday to win the individual title by four strokes.
Most impressive about the 67 final round were no bogeys. She made up four strokes on the first three holes. She made up all seven in eight. She took a two-stroke lead on No. 14 when she hit a her tee shot within a foot of the hole to take a two-shot lead.
The power of the bow?
“It really began as a joke,” she said. “I thought it looked pretty good but I’m not one to make grand gestures. I wore it in the locker room and the other girls said, ‘looks great; you have to wear that.’ I said OK.”
“I told her to wear it (the bow) for three or four holes, then she could always take it off,” said Deanna Ott, her mom. “She never took it off.”
Wednesday was Deanna’s birthday.
“She told me Tuesday that she was gonna get the win for me,” said Deanna.
Casey fired a 77 on her home course, having a train wreck of a back nine to fall seven strokes back.
“I told Mom today (Wednesday), well, I was gonna try my best to get her the win, but I had some doubts about it,” said Casey. But I will do my best.”
“I told her, it doesn’t matter, just have fun,” said Deanna.
“I relaxed and had fun,” said Casey. “I was really nervous Tuesday because it is my last high school competitive tournament and I wanted to do good for my team and good for my coach. The team said don’t worry about it, just have fun. I just decided to go out have fun.”
“What’s really impressive in no bogeys,” said Mike Smith, CVCC pro who has coached Casey since age 6. “You get a no-bogey round out here and you’re usually talking about shooting a 70. To have five birdies plus no bogeys in really icing on the cake. It’s a nice round.”
She will now defend her Overall title in a couple of weeks at Pleasant Valley Country Club is Little Rock.
“The bow may have to come back for that,” she said.