MAHOMET — Alaina Bowie is fresh off consecutive “extremely surreal” golf moments.
One — verbally committing to Butler University about two weeks ago — determined her athletic career beyond her upcoming senior year at St. Thomas More.
The other — shooting 9-under 63 on Monday at Springfield’s Piper Glen Golf Club — generated a new lifetime-best round in her sport of choice.
“Both don’t seem real yet, and I don’t think they will for a long time,” Bowie said Tuesday evening.
Bowie’s 63 was also the best score in the latest two-day Prep Tour event.
The two-time reigning News-Gazette All-Area girls’ Golfer of the Year will take those talents to the Division I level, choosing the Indianapolis-based Bulldogs over more than 900 other colleges.
That’s not an exaggeration, either.
“One day I woke up and I decided I wanted to play golf in college,” Bowie said. “My mom was like, ‘No, no, no, too much pressure.’”
Bowie eventually got her mother to relent, which resulted in a unique approach to finding a program at the next level.
“My mom said ... ‘We’re going to put every single college that has a women’s golf team on a list, and we’re going to start there,’” Bowie said.
Through factors such as location, competition level, campus size, campus living options and attendee diversity, Bowie and her mom slowly whittled down the field.
During that process, then-Butler assistant coach Christie Cates showed up to one of Bowie’s offseason tournaments in Florida.
“There wasn’t just this feeling I got that was overwhelming. There was still a lot of insecurity and unknowing about what was going to happen,” Bowie said. “She let me know she was looking at me, and that was all I needed.”
Cates was named the Bulldogs’ head coach last June, and Bowie’s commitment soon followed.
Butler being close to Bowie’s home in Mahomet also helped, as did a begrudging acknowledgement from Cates.
“The last thing that really kind of sold me was the coach was like, ‘You know what, don’t get hurt, but you can play intramural sports,’” said Bowie, who also has suited up for STM girls’ basketball. “And I was like, ‘Wait, are you for real?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s fine, I guess.’”
Bowie led the area girls’ scene last season with a 37.9 nine-hole stroke average. She placed 10th at the Class 1A state meet while pushing the Sabers to fourth as a program for the second straight year.
Right now, Bowie’s goals for her last run with STM primarily are focused on forming a tightly-knit team — the same ideals she stated prior to the 2018 campaign.
A mindful-yet-reserved approach has served Bowie well thus far on the links.
Soon enough, she’s hopeful it’ll provide similar results at Butler.
“It’s not like Disneyland in a college. That’s not what I’m trying to say,” Bowie said. “It’s just a lot worked for me, and that’s what I wanted.”