ROCHELLE, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –It’s a very good year for golf talent in our area high schools, especially on the girls side. One of the standouts is Rochelle Senior Megan Thiravong.
Thiravong has been passionate about golf for quite a while now.
“It was sometime in seventh grade (when I started),” said Thiravong. “I believe maybe four or five years ago.”
She comes from a golf family.
“All of them (play), and they’re all great. Especially my little sister. She’ll be coming up here in about six years.”
But right now it’s Megan’s time to shine. She competes for Rochelle High School’s golf team on the boys’ team in the regular season. She’s not just a member of the team, she’s the leader.
“I’m the captain of the Rochelle boys team. It’s most definitely an honor. It’s voted by the coaches seeing the potential of each player, so because I shoot pretty well they decided that I would be a great role model for the rest of the team.”
They guys are more than happy to have her competing with them, and they’re impressed by her game.
“It’s amazing how she hits them,” says Rochelle golfer Reese Kirk. “Every shot is just a straight shot and it’s just amazing how it has the turn, has the curavature and just lands on the green just firmly and stops.”
“We all play well together and we all get along so that’s great,” said Thiravong. “Bus rides are hilarious and we’re a riot!”
“She’s been our number one golfer on the guys’ varsity team for the last two years,” said Rochelle coach Glen Mehrings. “She’s been playing varsity since the middle of her freshman year on the guys team. The work ethic over four years and seeing her in eighth grade too every day whether it’s Saturday, Sunday, Monday. She knows what her weaknesses are, and she’s just willing to attack it to improve it.”
When she competes with the boys she plays from the blue tees as they do. but when the regular season ends she’s back competing against the girls. Each of the last three years she advanced to state in Class 1A finishing 65th, 20th and 12th.
Thiravong sharpened her game at the beginning of August by winning the Greater Rockford Women’s Open. She won matches over Natalie Hooper and Jessica Slattery before besting Hui Chong Dofflemyer 20-up in the championship match.
Thiravong says she has three mentors who help her with her golf game.
“Mostly my parents. My mom and my dad because I don’t have a formal swing coach, so what we do is we look on Youtube and see what’s on there, and if it works then that’s what we choose to play my game with. Another person I would love to credit is Mr. Brian Silvers.”
Silvers has won most of the major men’s tournaments in the Rockford area including the Winnebago County Tournament, the Aldeen Cup, the Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Invitational and the Atwood Classic.
“He has been my mentor since maybe 11 years old. The first time I saw him he saw my game and he thought, ‘Wow, she’s not bad. Maybe I could play with her a couple times and see what happens’, and we’ve known each other ever since.”
There’s more than golf to Thiravong. She’s also one of the top five students in her class at Rochelle.
“I take my academics extremely seriously, and that is because my parents have taught me since I was young to always try your best and always to do your best when it comes to school, to activities and to make sure you can move forward in life.”
Thiravong hasn’t decided yet where she’ll attend college, but she knows she wants to continue golfing and she knows what career she intends to pursue.
“In college I would like to major in chemical engineering or biochemical engineering and after college I would like to work in a lab perhaps and perhaps be the third generation to work at Hormel Foods.
By the way, Thiravong is also the captain of Rochelle’s debate team.