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story.lead_photo.caption Parkers Chapel's Michael Brotherton hits a top-spin forehand during action this season. Brotherton was named Sports Alley/El Dorado News-Times Fall Sports Male Athlete of the Year. - Photo by Terrance Armstard

Parkers Chapel’s Michael Brotherton didn’t start playing golf under his junior year. A year later, the senior became an All-State player. Quite the accomplishment considering, at the same time, he was busy becoming a three-time All-State performer in tennis.

Brotherton’s hectic Fall schedule on the links and the courts earned him El Dorado News-Times Fall Male Athlete of the Year honors.

A two-time 2A state finalist in doubles with Austin Fruge, Brotherton competed in singles for the first time this season and advanced to the 2A state semifinals before falling 5-7, 6-0, 6-2. He bounced back to claim third place with a 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Brotherton’s bounce-back performance after the disappointing loss was symbolic of his attitude on and off the court.

“That was the last game I had. One of my teammate’s grandpa told me, ‘How ‘bout you just end it on a win?’ I took that to heart,” Brotherton said of the third place match. “I’d much rather play my last game and win it. That really set in to me. I played with everything I had that last game.”

Brotherton admitted he was a bit surprised at his success in singles. He must’ve been shocked at what he did on the golf course, finishing as runner-up in the conference before shooting 86 to place in a fifth place tie at the 2A State Tournament.

“He’s only a second-year golfer. To do what he’s done in only two years is pretty phenomenal,” said Parkers Chapel golf coach Mona Williams. “He’s very driven. He learned the game very quickly. He’s a natural born athlete. Last year, he was not excelling. He was excelling for a first-year golfer but not like he did this year. He just put the work in over the summer and early spring and it paid off. He was, by the end, my number one golfer on the team.”

Brotherton said he doesn’t have a primary sport. He plans to play golf, tennis and baseball this year. Last year, he played six - golf, tennis, baseball, track, cross country and football.

“They didn’t tell me I had a limit on ‘em so I played all that I could,” he said.

Golf was his latest athletic venture. After his senior season, he wished he had picked up the clubs sooner.

“When I was younger, golf never caught my eye. It was actually used as a punishment from my grandpa,” Brotherton said. “If we’d ever do something bad, get in grand mama’s flower bed or something, he would make us sit on the couch and watch the golf channel. I thought that was the worst thing ever. But, I picked it up. I started playing last year and I fell in love with it.”

Between his junior and senior seasons, he shaved almost nine strokes off his score.

“He’s very driven. He was committed to getting better. He didn’t mind putting the time in,” said Williams. “I know on the weekends, he would go play nine holes and then he would go to the country club and play tennis with Robert Holmes all afternoon. He was, literally, playing golf all morning and tennis all afternoon. He didn’t have free weekends. He devoted his time to getting better. That’s saying something because a lot of kids aren’t going to give up their whole Saturday.”

In tennis, Brotherton was undefeated conference singles champion and was second in the Searcy Lion Invitational.

“He has always been able to juggle many sports as well as maintain his grades in school,” said PC tennis coach Casey Rapp. “There were many times he would spend his day playing golf and then come put in hours on the tennis court. His love for both sports has been evident in dedication to both teams.”

As impressive as his athletic achievements have been, they pale to his work in the classroom. Brotherton sports a 4.14 grade point average and ranks in the top two of the senior class.

“It’s very tough to divide time and stay on track with school,” said the 5-foot-10 lefty. “Compared to last year, I ran cross country as well, so this year was actually easier. But, it’s definitely hard to stay on track at school. That’s the most important part for me.”

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