As a teenager at Hidden Valley High, Kristin Hearp was one of the top high school golfers in the state.
Outside out of her immediate family, few knew that she had been diagnosed with idiopathic uveitis during her junior year at Hidden Valley High.
“I was in a very small percentage where they don’t know what causes it,” Hearp said. “I didn’t mention it back then because I didn’t think it was a big deal.”
After signing with Virginia Tech, the condition made it difficult for her to maintain her top-flight golf game in college.
“It definitely affected me 2-3 years ago, but it’s better now,” said the now 21-year-old Hearp, who has two years of eligibility left at Tech.
Hearp proved Sunday that she and her golf game are back in stride Sunday at Blue Hills Golf Club, where she fired an even-par 71 to capture the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame women’s championship.
“I’m just glad I’m on the upper side of it now,” Hearp conceded. “It makes you grow up a little bit.
“It’s still a work in progress. I’m way better than I was six months ago or much better than two years ago. It’s still not where I want to be but it’s manageable now.”
Hearp parlayed three birdies with three bogeys to stave off close friend and Tech teammate Katie Muscatello of Blacksburg by one shot.
“It’s been a while since I’ve won and played a decent round of golf,” Hearp said with a grin. “It’s good to know where my ball is going. If it’s not going my way, I know now to fix it a little more than I used to.
“It’s good to be able to talk about my game without getting upset. That’s always a positive for me.”
Muscatello, a rising walk-on senior at Tech who is hanging around for a fifth year, was happy for her good friend.
“I’m happy with it and happy for Kristin, too,” she said. “She’s not only my teammate, but she’s one of my best friends, too.
“Carol [Robertson, Virginia Tech’s coach] should like this, hopefully. I had like four or five birdies, three on the front nine. I was hitting it close up to the pin and taking advantage of the short course for sure.”
Blacksburg High teenager Melissa Meng, who took the crown last year, posted a 74 and placed third.
Led by the top three finishers, Blacksburg Country Club coasted to a 16-shot victory over Roanoke Country Club for the junior team title.
In the seniors division, Hidden Valley’s Nancy Snodgrass carded a 77 to nip two-time champion and club mate Dot Bolling by a shot.
“I’m stunned!” the 68-year-old Snodgrass said.
“Having had surgery on my left thumb right where the club rests and not having only five 18-hole rounds this spring since the doctor released me this comes totally unexpected.”
Hidden Valley captured the super senior team crown by 11 shots over Blue Hills.