Ferrell blossoming for Newport Harbor

Grace Ferrell has one grandfather who taught her how to play golf, and another grandfather who likes to take the credit for doing so.

Grace grew up practicing with her father's dad, Doug Ferrell, at Tustin Ranch Golf Club. But last year Doug moved to Texas, where he works at a golf course.

Now Grace sometimes plays with her mother's dad, Roger Johnson, although he's still getting the hang of the sport.

"Luckily, my other grandpa plays too," Grace Ferrell said with a smile. "He's gotten better. He's started taking lessons. He wants to get better, but I have to tell him, 'Don't move your ball!' He likes to move his ball. I mean, you're not supposed to move your ball, but if it's in a bad lie he'll move his ball.

"It's funny. He says to everyone we play with, 'I taught her everything she knows,' but it's really my other grandpa."

Ferrell, now a sophomore at Newport Harbor High, knows plenty about the sport now. She was the Sunset League MVP this year after medaling in nine of 10 league matches for the Sailors.

Coach Scott Tarnow said Ferrell is the first Sailors boys' or girls' player to earn that honor in 10 years. The last person to accomplish the feat, Natalie Draganza, won Sea View League MVP honors three different times. Draganza went on to play Division 1 golf in college at Boston College.

Ferrell, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, has similar ambitions, to play in college and maybe even professionally one day. Tarnow definitely believes that it's possible.

"She's really improved each of the last two seasons, [but] it's not just her talent," Tarnow said. "She's very coach-able. She listens and implements ideas, and gives feedback. She just loves the game. This is her passion."

Ferrell's season ended for the second straight year at the CIF Southern Section individual championship/WSCGA qualifying tournament. She had a rough round at Talega Golf Club in San Clemente, firing an 84.

But Ferrell ended up just two matches away from the state championships, and she has two more years to try to achieve that goal.

She'll certainly work at it. She typically practices around 20 hours a week. Last summer, she played in her first four American Junior Golf Assn. tournaments.

Once it comes to the dual matches or tournaments, Ferrell certainly has a game plan.

"Hitting fairways and greens, and then the putting will take care of itself," said Farrell, who can drive the ball 270 yards on a good day.

Newport Harbor went 2-8 in league this year. Ferrell was by far the Sailors' best player, but she's not an elitist. She said she's excited for the future of the program, as the Sailors had just one senior, Christina Ferraro, and one junior, Sabrina Weiler. Tehya Corona, who like Ferrell is a sophomore, has improved significantly in a short amount of time.

Ferrell certainly is a thoughtful young woman. She carries a 3.7 grade-point average at Newport Harbor. In her free time, she said she volunteers with her church, Mariners Church of Irvine, on the weekends. She helps out with a program called CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

"It's helping out underprivileged teens and adults, talking with them and doing things with them that they want to do," she said. "I feel like it's something meant for me to do, because these people really need help. I just feel the call to help them. It's extra free time that I have, so it's something I have to do."

One fun thing that Ferrell would love to do again is shoot a hole-in-one. She's made one in her career. A month after her 12-year-old brother James made one, Grace got her chance.

It came in May 2012, at the second hole at Costa Mesa Country Club's Mesa Linda course.

"I think it was a 150 [yard] par-three," Ferrell said. "I used a seven-iron. I was super-thrilled, and my dad [James] was there to witness it.

"It's sort of rare. I've had many eagles before, but a hole-in-one is way different."

If Grace makes another one, she'll make sure to call her grandfather, Doug, all the way in Texas.

Grace Ferrell

Born: June 14, 1998

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 5-foot-7

Sport: Golf

Year: Sophomore

Coach: Scott Tarnow

Favorite food: Chinese food

Favorite movie: "Caddyshack"

Favorite athletic moment: Helping Newport Harbor win the Estancia tournament at Costa Mesa Country Club's Mesa Linda course earlier this year.

Week in review: Ferrell, the Sunset League MVP, shot a one-over-par 73 at the CIF Southern Section Individual Regional at Mile Square Golf Course, advancing to the CIF individual championship.

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