Groton-Dunstable star golfer Isabelle Premkumar, 17, a senior, rips a drive at Groton Country Club during a win over Westboro on Tuesday. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE
Groton-Dunstable star golfer Isabelle Premkumar, 17, a senior, rips a drive at Groton Country Club during a win over Westboro on Tuesday. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE

GROTON -- Isabelle Premkumar came to golf at the age of 12, in part because she was in search of a sport that would better suit her asthma. The constant running in soccer had simply become too burdensome.

Her parents were not golfers. In fact, none of her close relatives were. However, Premkumar's father thought the sport seemed like a nice fit for her, and maybe with dedication and a little luck, it might even present college scholarship opportunities.

Premkumar is now a senior on the Groton-Dunstable High School golf team, one of the top players in the area and has already been offered a scholarship package to Division 1 Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. After she fired an even-par 35 at Groton Country Club in G-D's 28.5-25.5 win over Westboro on Tuesday, she was scheduled to talk to a representative from the University of Hartford.

"So far it's turned out well for me," said Premkumar of her decision to turn to the links.

Premkumar's handicap is an impressive 3.7. It's the product of meticulous work on all facets of her game, as teammate James Willson can attest to.

"A couple times over the summer I went out to play nine holes at The Overlook Golf Club (in Hollis, N.H.) and when I got there Isabelle was on the putting green. Then when I came back after playing my round, she was still there putting," said the junior Willson, who shares No. 1 player responsibilities for the Crusaders with Premkumar. "Her short game is great and she works really hard at it.


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By her own admission, Premkumar is not a long hitter. She averages about 220 yards with her driver, sacrificing distance in virtually every competition she plays in, including high school matches in which she mostly plays against boys. To make up for that, she routinely hits fairways and falls back on her precise iron game and ability to make tough putts when she needs to.

In June, Premkumar lost in a playoff for first place in the New England High School Championships at Bretwood Country Club.

Groton-Dunstable golfer Isabelle Premkumar, 17, a senior, finishes her round at Groton Country Club. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE
Groton-Dunstable golfer Isabelle Premkumar, 17, a senior, finishes her round at Groton Country Club. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE
She shot a 1-under 71, but then fell to Pinkerton Academy's Lauren Thibodeau.

"That was probably my best accomplishment so far because that was pretty much every good player in New England," Premkumar said.

Premkumar was at the course four times per week for most of the summer -- the majority of that time was spent at Overlook.

She says she's certainly had to make sacrifices in her social life in order to better her game, something that was tough at first but is now easier because she's seeing the payoff.

"She's consistent and very industrious," said G-D head coach Dave Bean. "You can take her to any course and put her from 100 yards or in and very seldom will you see her two putt. She was a good player as a freshman but she plays at an incredibly high level now.

"If you tell her to step it up, she will step it up. We were down a hole (on Tuesday) and I said to her, 'OK, you got to go to work now.' And she won the last hole and that point made a huge difference."

Premkumar has also received interest from the University of South Florida and Florida Institute of Technology, two schools in a much warmer climate than New England that would offer the chance to play golf year-round. However, she says Wagner is offering her close to a full ride, which will be tough to top. She plans to visit Wagner at the end of the month.

For the time being, Premkumar is off to a strong start for the 3-1 Crusaders, despite the fact that she's working her way back into form after taking a three-week break at the end of the summer due to torn tissue in her back -- an injury sustained from an aggressive swing aimed at trying to get more distance on her drives.

"I overestimated my flexibility a little bit," said Premkumar.

Bean says it's only a matter of time before Premkumar adds significant length to her ball. When you consider how far her game has already come in just five years, that seems like a safe prediction.

Follow Matt Langone on Twitter @MattLangone