Competition and team bonding drive Morelli on the golf course

MIHS junior captain has been golfing since she was 5.

Lucia Morelli aims to give her teammates a shot of positivity while they’re traversing the golf course.

The Mercer Island High School junior captain feels that team bonding and learning to compete as a squad are two of the most crucial aspects of the sport. This analysis emerged in a huge way when the Islanders placed first in the team standings at the recent Burlington-Edison Girls Golf Invitational at the Skagit Golf and Country Club.

In the individual realm, Morelli notched first-place medalist honors with a three-over 76 at the 18-hole tourney.

“I know golf is a very easy sport to get down on yourself, because I know, I’m really hard on myself when I’m competing individually. I think the best part of high school golf is having your teammates to bring you up, and so I offer anything from golf advice to giving people rides to just trying to make them laugh,” said Morelli, who captains the team with junior Nina Baston and senior Hana Ohta.

Morelli, 16, who is competitive and a purveyor of good sportsmanship, played the four par-fives at three-under at the Burlington-Edison tourney and excelled with her chipping and putting games on the narrow course. In the team’s 1-2 showing in nine-hole league play at press time, she earned two medalist awards for 36 and 35 even-par scores.

On the junior amateur circuit, Morelli — who said she fell in love with the sport at age 5 — tied for seventh at the recent WJGA Western Open for girls ages 14-18 at the Capitol City Golf Club in Olympia.

When she steps onto the course and puts her clubs into action, Morelli said, “I think my favorite thing is the freedom that it gives you. You’re in charge of everything and there’s no one right way to play the game. It’s all up to you and it all varies on the day and the course that you’re competing at.”

The Reporter asked Morelli a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Right now, my favorite movie, probably “Top Gun: Maverick.”

What’s the best piece of advice that you can give someone, whether it’s on or off the golf course?

You can’t change the past, you can only focus on the present. That’s what my mom always tells me when I head off to a golf tournament, so it really sticks with me.

What’s a hidden talent that you have?

I can wiggle my ears (laughs).

That’s the first time anyone’s ever given me that answer.

OK! (more laughter)

There you go, you’re standing out.

What’s a special skill that you’d like to learn?

I want to learn how to juggle the golf ball on your club face. It’s something that I’ve never been able to do and it’s very common for golfers to do.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Chewing with your mouth open.

What’s your favorite restaurant on the Island?

Mioposto. Pepperoni pizza.