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Jul. 4—TRAVERSE CITY — Winning anything 15 times is impressive.

Winning the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Golfer of the Week award a record-setting 15 times is a different story.

Hunter Kehoe took home those and many other accolades in her time at Saint Mary’s College. Kehoe helped propel the Belles to the National Championships this spring and tied for sixth place individually at nationals before coming home to golf in the Michigan PGA Women’s Open last week.

The Traverse City West alum, who earned first-team All-American honors in Division III, said she will be taking some time away from competitive golf after finishing the Open at Crystal Mountain Tuesday.

Kehoe graduated from Saint Mary’s in South Bend, Indiana and is starting to pursue her Master’s degree down the street at Notre Dame. She earned MIAA Most Valuable Golfer the last three seasons and was first-team all-conference all four years with the Belles, following her older sister Taylor through the program.

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made and we had a great season with a new coach, so it was a little bit of an adjustment,” Kehoe said. “I got first team All-American, so that was pretty exciting and a good way to end.”

Taylor was a award winner in her time with the Belles as well and the game of golf helped shape the Kehoe family, but it was all started with Hunter Kehoe and her younger brother Murphy, who is a golfer at TC West.

“People always ask where did you get these golf skills from?” Murphy Kehoe said. “We didn’t get it from our parents, that’s for sure.”

The Kehoe kids chose golf as neither of their parents played the game they all came to know and love so much. Hunter and Murphy started with the Traverse City Junior Golf Association at a young age and both fell in love with the sport, eventually getting their older sister Taylor to start golf her freshman year at TC West.

Taylor preceded Hunter in committing to St. Mary’s. Ironically, a different golfer from Canada named Taylor Kehoe also played in this year’s Michigan Women’s Open.

“Hunter and I have put in a lot of time at the golf course and even when we don’t like it we still go in and do everything,” Murphy Kehoe said. “It feels good now because all of her hard work paid off with a great college experience with golf. Now it is fun, the best part is feeling proud for doing it.”

The sisters helped bring the Belles golf program to new heights as they both earned multiple first-team all-MIAA honors and participated in multiple national championships.

“Hunter was probably the most talented golfer I’ve ever coached,” former St. Mary’s golf coach Kim Moore said. “She pretty much owns every individual scoring record at St Mary’s. Over her four years she’s just improved tremendously, not only in her golf skills, but her leadership skills. Obviously a leader on the golf course, but also just showing the other players what it takes to practice and how to approach the game of golf. She’s really been established a culture there at St. Mary’s. I think that’ll last a long time.”

Traverse City St. Francis alum and St. Mary’s sophomore Katherine Hopkins also plays for the Belles and participated in last week’s Michigan Women’s Open.

Kehoe became only the third Saint Mary’s golfer to earn All-American honors twice in her career — she was named honorable mention her junior year — and the only golfer at the school to ever repeat as the Most Valuable Golfer.

“Seeing what she did in college and what both of my sisters did for Saint Mary’s, taking them from way down to a top golf school,” Murphy Kehoe said. “Seeing them turn the program around affected me and now all I want to do is turn a program around or make one better.”

Murphy Kehoe placed second at the Division 1 state championships this season and said his sister’s sixth-place finish at Nationals was motivation because they have always been in a friendly competition. But Hunter said she is excited to focus on school at Notre Dame and leave only some of that competition behind.

“I am glad I had a sister and brother that also play golf and have been incredibly successful,” Kehoe said. “I’m very satisfied with the way things have ended here. It’s bittersweet and kind of sad, but I will probably play in this (Michigan Women’s Open) every year back and forth.”

Follow Jake on Twitter @JakeAtnip