Liz Furniss is used to leading the pack on the greens in Kings County. Now the Berwick resident plans to do the same in Michigan.
Furniss, who turns 18 this month, graduated from West Kings in the top three of her graduating class. Her academic record, combined with her talent as a golfer, earned her a full-tuition scholarship from Lawrence Technical University in Southfield, MI.
There, she plans to inaugurate a golf team this fall.
“This will be the first year for a golf team at Lawrence. I’m pretty excited, in that I’ll be able to be part of the start of something brand new.”
The combined academic and athletic scholarship, valued at approximately $132,000, was a huge surprise, she said.
“I had put all my information onto a recruiting website, and their coach contacted me through there,” she said.
“I’d had a couple of other coaches contact me, but this seemed like the school that was the best fit for me, both academically and athletically.”
On the greens
Furniss, who was born in Halifax and moved to Berwick around the age of five, has been golfing for several years. She’s been playing competitively for the past five years.
She has competed at NSGA provincials the past five years, and was the provincial juvenile champion in 2012. At this year’s junior tournament, played last week on her home course in Kingston, Paragon, she was the top junior and placed third overall.
She also played school golf for West Kings and was the NSSAF provincial girls’ champion the past two years. She also represented Nova Scotia at the 2013 Canada Games in Quebec, helping the province to a fifth-place finish overall.
Although she also played basketball and badminton at West Kings, “my first love is golf.” She likes being outside, and finds the mental side of golf “gives you an opportunity to think. I find it calming, so different than any other sport I’ve played.”
Top of her game
This year’s junior provincials represented her best-ever score, and at 321, it was also her personal best for four rounds.
“I don’t know for sure if it was my best placing,” other than winning the juvenile division, “but it might have been.”
Getting to play provincials on her home course “was really awesome,” she said.
“It didn’t really feel like a tournament, but just another round of golf.”
She felt no added pressure playing on her home course, and was pleased that if she couldn’t win, at least the winner, Meghan McLean, was also from the Valley.
“Meghan played very well,” she said. “She’s an amazing player, and she’s always fun to play with. She’s kind of like a younger sister. We have a lot of fun out there.”
Furniss stood one stroke off the lead after two rounds at provincials, but experienced a rough third day, which knocked her out of contention for the championship.
The experience she gained this year and everything she’s likely to learn this coming year at Lawrence should leave her in good stead for 2015, which will be her final summer in the junior division.
“This coming year should really help,” she said. “I’ve never really had actual coaching, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Asked what she is looking for from her post-secondary education, Furniss says she hasn’t fully decided yet.
“I’ll be studying mechanical engineering, which is something I’m interested in pursuing,” she says.
“I’m hoping to get into the automotive industry when I’m finished, maybe something to do with internal combustion engines.”
Furniss said she’s always been interested in cars, and especially the science behind cars and engines, which combines both physics and chemistry.
For now, though, she’s simply enjoying life these days, and looking forward to whatever the future brings.
The coming year, she said, “will be a huge change, especially being so far away from home, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”