By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Mike McDowell only saw Cammie Decker hit one ball before she joined the McNary High School girls varsity golf team.

“She hit a dart straight down the middle for about 230 yards and that was all it took. I knew I was in good hands for the next four years,” said McDowell, Celtic head coach.

Decker, a senior, will be taking her skills north to Portland’s Concordia University next fall. She signed a letter of intent to play for the school at a ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 17.

McDowell said Decker started with the right foundation.

“Cammie is the first one at practice and last to leave every day, and puts that kind of example forward for the other girls. She’ll also step right up and help the other girls whenever she can help them identify a problem,” he said.

Over the years, she’s added to her repertoire a steely resolve to excel at a game known for its ups and downs. She doesn’t get angry over the bad balls and feels no need to celebrate the great ones, McDowell said.

“Cammie hits a plateau and stays there. I’ve only met two or three other high school students that can play the way she does in that regard,” said McDowell.

Cammie Decker (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Cammie Decker (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Decker said she loves the team and individual aspects of golf, and found the school environment at Concordia fit well with her priorities.

“I liked the whole environment – how it is a smaller school – and the team atmosphere they have up there,” she said.

She is still deciding on a major at the school, but she’s currently maintaining a 3.95 grade point average.

She’s already anticipating facing the next level of competition in the sport.

“Everybody is all-around competitive, and it’s not just a matter of one person we’ll have to watch out for,” she said.

McDowell doesn’t think she’ll have to worry much about fitting in.

“This is a sport that takes a lot of years to learn and she’s good enough already to move up to the next level,” he said.