Alyssa Lamoureux used to be a cheerleader. Not just a regular "cheer at the Pee-Wee football games" cheerleader, but a competitive, gymnastics-style athlete.
Then, when she was 8 years old and visiting Texas, she fell on her left elbow. Though she was in immediate pain, she waited a month before getting it checked out to avoid ruining her trip.
"They told me it was broken and it healed wrong," Lamoureux said. "I wasn't able to cheer anymore because they told me I couldn't put that pressure on my arm. If I broke it again I wouldn't be able to move it right and I would need surgery."
Forced into an early cheerleading retirement, Lamoureux needed to find a sport that wouldn't put pressure on her elbow. A sport that didn't have contact or require an overhead motion. Hmmmm, what sport could that be?
"I didn't know anything about golf and I remember telling my dad one day, 'Can I try this golf thing?' " said Lamoureux, a sophomore. "I'd seen it on TV and my sister played it. I went out to a junior clinic (at the Bayou Club) and I've been doing it ever since."
Golf is in the Lamoureux genes. Ashley Lamoureux played at Clearwater Central Catholic, then the University of Miami in the early 2000s.
In Alyssa Lamoureux's first tournament, a nine-hole First Tee of St. Petersburg event when she was 9, she shot a 48 and won. She has been hooked on the game ever since.
Lamoureux started playing high school golf in the seventh grade for Northside Christian, competing for the Mustangs through her freshman year. Lamoureux now takes classes online through Florida Virtual School and will play high school golf for Seminole, the public school she is zoned to attend.
About 10 years ago, another area golfer also played at Seminole while being homeschooled, current LPGA player Brittany Lincicome.
While Lamoureux is not yet in Lincicome's category, she is working on it. She has had a very productive summer, playing in the Florida Women's Amateur Match Play, where she advanced to the tournament final. She tied for second at the Girls Junior Amateur Championship, which qualified her for the U.S. Girls Junior Championship.
She tied for seventh at the Women's Amateur Championship and narrowly missed the cut in a U.S. Open qualifier.
"It's been busy, but it's been a lot of fun," she said.
Her success so far comes as no surprise to Jim King, director of instruction at the Bayou Club in Largo and Lamoureux's first and only teacher.
"You could see right away that she had the athletic ability," King said. "She could hit the ball from the very beginning. She's always had that hand-eye coordination. What we've done lately is work on her short game. She's always willing to work on her game. She never misses a day, whether it's on the range or the practice green.
"She's had a lot of success, especially this summer, and it doesn't surprise me at all."
As a freshman at Northside Christian, Lamoureux averaged 38 strokes for nine holes and shot a 71 at Bardmoor to win the Bay Conference Championship. She shot a pair of 77s at the state tournament.
Returning to the state tournament is her main goal as part of Seminole's team.
"It's important to me to get to states and place well," Lamoureux said. "I'm hoping to try to win it this year. It's going to be tough, but it always is."
If not this year, then perhaps as a junior or senior. Lamoureux hopes to play college golf and has already drawn interest from Central Florida. After that she may even have a chance to play professionally.
"I think for sure she can play college golf and maybe beyond that," King said.
Contact Rodney Page at email@example.com. Follow @RodneyHomeTeam.