With an eye for detail, Lilly Middleton enjoys art and building iconic structures from around the world.
“I’ve always been in to art,” said Middleton, the Wilmington High School senior who has qualified for the OHSAA Girls Golf Tournament. “I have three art classes in school.”
Among her artwork, Middleton has a lighthouse and the Great Wall of China featured on a shelving unit with several other pieces. She has quite the LEGO display, that includes the Eiffel Tower, the White House, the Statue of Liberty and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
“I’ve been doing those for a while,” said Middleton, also a self-taught guitar player. “I can sit there and build something for hours and not move until it’s done.”
Her persistence in tedious tasks makes Middleton a bit of a perfectionist, which benefits not only her LEGO building but her golf game as well.
“I’m kinda like that with everything,” she said. “I want to do it until it’s done … why stop (before it’s done).”
Middleton will begin play 10:40 a.m. Friday at Ohio State University. She’ll start on No. 1 on OSU’s Gray Course.
“What I’ve seen of the course, it’s not much different than (Glenview, site of last week’s district),” said Middleton.
Gabby Wedding is the last female golfer from Wilmington High School to advance to the state tournament, finishing as the Division I runnerup in 2000. Gabby won the state championship in 1999.
Middleton got her first set of golf clubs when she was 6 but didn’t begin playing in tournaments until she was in 6th grade. She played basketball as well, through the eighth grade but “it wasn’t really for me,” she said.
In her mind, Middleton “wasn’t great” when it came to golf at an early age but decided around eighth or ninth grade to start taking it seriously.
Despite her size, or lack of it, Middleton is one of the longest hitters in the area.
“Gabby Woods (Clinton-Massie golfer who tied for 4th in the state in 2019) was one of only two or three players who could hit it further than me,” Middleton said.
In fact, other golfers were intimidated playing against the diminutive Middleton.
“I know in high school some girls would say ‘I was scared to play with you.’ They were embarrassed. I’d tell them there was nothing to be embarrassed about.”
Though she’s never played in the state tournament, Middleton has attended the event before as a fan. That, she hopes, will help keep the nerves down.
“I’ve seen the course and I think that helps a little bit,” she said. “I think it helps to say I know what it’s like.
“The nerves, overall, no. If anything on the first hole but nothing that really affects me. When I go up to the tee, I’m thinking about swinging and not other stuff,” she said.
Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsportsReach