Like many young golfers, Abbie Mozzetti got started because of Dad. She started swinging clubs as a 6-year-old. She and her two older brothers often hit the links as a family on weekends and throughout the summer.
"It's pretty much our thing to do," she said.
As a senior at White Bear Lake, Abbie still golfs with dad and her brothers, but her attitude has changed from her younger years.
"It was kind of forced upon me by him at first,'' Abbie said of her father, Dan, a former Bemidji State golfer. "He'd push me to get out even if I didn't want to."
She got irritated and angry -- emotions any golfer can relate to -- but her father stuck with her.
"If it weren't for him I probably wouldn't still be playing," Abbie said. "We have our times when we get frustrated with each other. I know he's always there to help. He's good, and he's good at coaching me."
Finding friends on the golf team helped kindle her passion for the sport. As her love of the game grew, so, too, did her abilities and motivation.
Bears head coach Kim Lee remembers when Mozzetti first tried out for the team.
"When she came to us in eighth grade, we were like, 'This girl is a golfer.' She's not just somebody that wandered by and said, 'Oh, I'll try golf,'" Lee said.
She hasn't stopped working, most notably on her short game. She reaches greens in regulation, and once she's near the hole, Mozzetti is as consistent as they come.
Lee recalled one practice session this year that turned from evening to dusk as Mozzetti navigated the green in the dark practicing her putting. She wouldn't leave until she was satisfied.
It's paid off nicely. Mozzetti qualified for her fourth consecutive state tournament last Tuesday with a second-place finish at Tanners Brook in Forest Lake. She has also committed to play Division I golf at the University of North Dakota next fall.
Lee believes part of the reason Mozzetti flies under the radar is the Suburban East Conference, which is loaded with talented golfers such as Celia Kuenster and Cassie Deeg. Mozzetti and the Bears have to match up with them constantly throughout the season. She shot 1 under at the White Bear Yacht Club this year, good enough for third place. A score like that would often lead to medalist honors, but not in this potent field: Kuenster carded a 3-under and Deeg was at 2-under.
But those girls aren't unbeatable. At the Elk River Invitational, Mozzetti shot an even-par 72 to match Deeg for first place. It went to a four-hole playoff with the Bears' leader coming out on top, defending the championship that she won last season.
"That was scary," Mozzetti said. "I was shaking so bad. Coach could see it."
Mozzetti has moved up each year at the state tournament, finishing 41st as a freshman, 23rd as a sophomore and 14th as a junior last spring. She believes that trend will continue June 12-13 at Bunker Hills.
"It's my last year. It's my last chance. I think I have a really good shot this year to do well in it," she said.