Golden Valley senior didn’t play golf until her final year. Now she has a scholarship.

Michaela Key was recruited to play golf her senior year at Golden Valley by new golf coach Malina Meza.

Key had never played golf before playing with the Cougars this past fall.

“Never,” Key said. “Unless mini golf counts.”

So it was quite a shock to Key when she learned that colleges were interested in her as a golfer. On Friday afternoon, she signed her national letter of intent to accept a golf scholarship at Menlo College in Atherton.

“This is crazy,” Key said. “I never expected colleges to reach out to me.”

Meza quickly realized she needed players when she took over the GV girls program this past fall. One of the first players she tried to recruit for the team was Key.

“She’s just athletic,” Meza said. “She plays more than one sport. She picked up quickly. She’s so passionate about it. I’m excited to see what she’s going to do beyond high school.”

Key quickly ascended up to the No. 1 player for the Cougars.

“I went out and I thought I’d be trash,” Key said. “Malina pushed me and made me the No. 1 player. That made it really scary, but she kept me there. It helped make me better.”

Golden Valley senior Michaela Key poses for photos with her family from left to right: mother Salene, sister Grace and father Richard. Key signed her national letter of intent to play golf at Menlo College on Friday, May 31, 2019 at Golden Valley High School. Shawn Jansen

Key was also a starting outfielder on the Cougars’ Central California Conference championship softball team that reached the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game.

“I think my softball swing helped me with my golf swing,” Key said. “Malina told me I had to keep my head down like I’m supposed to in softball. It was tough doing travel softball on Saturday and Sunday and then coming back to play golf on Monday.”

Key plans to major in psychology and minor in accounting and business.

“I never thought I would play anything other than softball in college,” Key said. “Now I’m going to college for golf. It’s going to be different for me because I won’t have Malina there with me. It’s going to be different, but I think I can do it.”