She was introduced to golf by her grandfather at age 4. She was playing competitive tournaments before her eighth birthday. She won player of the year honors on the Iowa PGA Junior Tour as an 11-year-old in the girls 16-18 division.

Shannyn Vogler is in the beginning stages of her teenage years, but the freshman already has established herself as one of the elite golfers in the state.

Vogler posted a 2-over par 76 Wednesday at Emeis Golf Course in the Davenport West Invitational to capture medalist honors by six strokes and propel Bettendorf to a 20-shot victory in what was a prelude to next month's Mississippi Athletic Conference tournament.

This was on the heels of a 74 Vogler shot Monday at Willow Creek Golf Course in West Des Moines.

"She looks for perfection in an imperfect game," Bettendorf coach Robbie Furne said. "There isn't a lot of coaching I have to do with her because she is very self-motivated and mature beyond her years."

Born in Minnesota, Vogler has lived in the Quad-Cities area her entire life. The family resided in Moline, moved to Sherrard three years ago and has plans of relocating back to Moline soon.

Vogler has attended Rivermont Collegiate, a college preparatory school in Bettendorf, since fourth grade.

When she and her grandfather contacted Furne about participating in high school golf last summer, the Bulldogs had to petition the state for a cooperative between Bettendorf and Rivermont.

This has been Vogler's first exposure to team golf.

"It is definitely different than regular summer golf," she said. "You're trying to help the team out. In the summer, the focus is on yourself."

Vogler has traveled across the country playing tournaments the past few summers. She has been to 35 states, many for events through the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and Mid-American Junior Golf Tour.

Her grandparents purchased a Chevrolet Equinox that has accumulated more than 27,000 miles in the past 11 months. Most of those have come from driving Vogler to tournaments.

There have been sacrifices.

Instead of hanging out with friends at pool parties during the summer, Vogler is immersed into practicing and playing competitive tournaments.

"I love the game," Vogler said. "It is difficult devoting this much time to it, but I understand if I really want to get good, I have to put in this much time and effort. I'm OK with it."

The 14-year-old has lofty ambitions.

She'll attempt to qualify for the United States Women's Amateur this summer. Arizona State is her desired college, and turning professional is the ultimate dream.

Depending on how her career pans out, Furne realizes there is a possibility he might not have Vogler in his program for four years.

"The national scene is going to be there for her," he said. "It is a different situation than some of our other sports. I would never want her to not feel she couldn't do a (national) tournament if she wants to do that.

"She's got bigger check marks to get besides high school golf."

Vogler is averaging 37.3 strokes for nine holes in three events this year. When Vogler submitted her goals at the start of the season, she wanted to shoot a 65 in competition.

She recorded a 65 in a practice round at Hunter's Ridge in Marion. Her low round in a competitive tournament is 68.

The 5-foot-6 Vogler showcased her talent on the back nine Wednesday. She was precise off the tee (on average carrying the ball about 215 to 220 yards), nestled wedges close to the pin and converted a couple 10-footers for either birdie or par to shoot 34.

"I feel I have more than 14 clubs in my bag," she said. "I can do so much with each of my clubs. I can hit draws, fades, go under trees, go over trees. I think that IQ just comes through practice, watching and listening to a lot of (professional) golfers."

Her grandfather, Terry, serves as her coach. However, he doesn't follow her around the course. Her grandmother followed Wednesday and kept Terry and Vogler's parents updated through text messages.

"Since he's my coach, it is a little different than having your grandma watch," Vogler said. "He gets a little frustrated because he knows when I do mess something up how much better I could have done on that."

Vogler has brought excitement to Bettendorf's program. She also has pushed her competitors.

Davenport Assumption's Olivia Leinart, in the same grouping, was the runner-up medalist with an 82.

"We were both pushing each other," Leinart said. "It motivated me to be more aggressive and shoot a better score.

"It was fun watching her play. Just to think she's only a freshman, it goes to show how much work she's already put into her game and how good she'll be in the future."

There was some nervousness early in the season between Vogler and her teammates, but Furne said that has subsided as the relationship has grown between both sides.

With Vogler, Bettendorf is the definitive MAC favorite and among the top teams in Class 4A. It finished second at a 16-team tournament Monday consisting of the top-tier Des Moines programs.

"It gives the girls a little more confidence knowing Shannyn is most likely going to put up a really good score," Furne said. "We have goals this year we've never had in our program.

"We want to go after the Des Moines schools. We're not there yet, but come the end of May, I like our chances."

Vogler is the reason for that.

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.