THE SWEET SPOT
By Kristine Carlson Asselin
Fifteen-year-old Kate Anderson wants two things at the beginning of the summer: to qualify for the Massachusetts Junior Golf Championship and to convince Scott Turner he belongs with her. As one of the only girls competing, making the cut won’t be easy; even though her family’s golf course is hosting the Qualifier. Unfortunately, golf is a game of focus, and Kate can’t tune out the distractions. Her number one distraction? Scott Turner, her sixteen-year-old co-worker and best friend.
The first big tournament of the season gives Kate a chance to scope out the competition. Unfortunately, a sudden downpour leaves her t-shirt soaked and Kate exposed in front of golf hot-shot Justin Foley and his leering posse. Scott literally gives her the shirt off his back and she finishes the match, modesty intact. Scott embarrasses Justin during the banquet, and he threatens revenge.
Exasperating to Kate, Scott doesn’t seem interested in changing their relationship until her dad’s business partner hires two British exchange students. Soon after the Brits arrive and move into a camper in the back yard, they invite Scott and Kate to play cards. Offended by a suggestive remark made by Giles, Kate leaves. Scott stumbles after her and tries to kiss her, but she refuses because he’s been drinking. For the first time, she doesn’t feel safe with him.
Nevertheless, the next day Kate worries if Scott made it home safely. By the time he shows up for work, sheepish and apologetic, Kate has forgotten all about being angry because overnight the eighth green was hit with a blowtorch. Repairs have barely begun when the fifth green is torched the following night. The damage is so bad they risk the tournament committee deciding to relocate the Qualifier.
When a blow torch is discovered in Scott’s car, he is arrested. Kate knows he’s innocent and plans to confront Justin Foley but, before she does, Giles brags about causing the damage! Kate is dumbfounded. The greens keeper overhears everything and fires Giles on the spot.
Scott is vindicated and Kate thinks the obstacles are behind them. But, he tells a broken-hearted Kate he wants to be “just friends.” While they’re arguing the finer points of his logic, Kate is almost whacked by a hard-driven golf ball hit by Justin Foley. After another misunderstanding, Scott apologizes and tells her he wants them to be together. Kate, frustrated and hurt, tells him he’s lost his chance.
With two days to go, the tournament chairperson declares course adequate to host. Kate’s dad’s business partner and friend arrives to oversee final preparations and when pressed, admits to hiring the Brits to cause trouble in hopes the business would fail so he could sell his share. Faced with the reality of this betrayal, Kate realizes that trust and friendship – like what she has with Scott – are more important than winning.
The day of the Qualifier dawns and Kate finds out that Justin Foley is in her foursome. By now, she knows he can’t hurt her. She’s learned to focus on her priorities. Her family will survive and she’ll make them proud, whether she qualifies for the Championship or not. Even though things don’t turn out exactly the way she imagined at the beginning of the summer, she finds the sweetest spot in the world: inside her own skin (and holding Scott Turner’s hand!)