Barbush wins Native Youth Golf Championship

Ella Barbush

Choctaw tribal member Ella Barbush, who is entering her senior year at Durant High School, won the girls 16-18 division at the NB3 Foundation Native Youth Golf Championship, held at the Santa Ana Golf Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico, July 24-26. Winning the tournament earned Ella a spot in the Notah Begay III Girls Golf National Championship to be held in Kinder, Louisiana, in November – which will be broadcast on the Golf Channel.

Ella said that winning the Native Youth Championship was the greatest accomplishment of her golfing career. “This tournament meant more than any other I have ever played. I wasn’t just representing myself or my school. I was representing the Choctaw Nation, and I was not coming home without the trophy.” Ella, the daughter of District Court Judge Amy Pierce, noted that she wore her Mother’s official Choctaw Nation Judicial Branch shirts to compete in the tournament to show her pride in her people and her Mom. “It helped because it made me feel like my Mom was there with me, even though she was back in Durant serving the Nation,” said Ella.

Ella says she will wear the same shirts again when she tees them up in the Notah Begay Girls National Championship.

Other Choctaw members who competed and won their division of the Native Youth Championship were Harlow Gregory of Norman, Oklahoma, who won the Girls 10-11 division and Ainsle Stanford III of Edmond, Oklahoma, who won the Boys 12-13 division. They also earned a spot in the Notah Begay III National Championship.

Ella noted that the Choctaw competitors wishing each other well on the tee box, during warm-ups and cheering each other on while on the course made the tournament extra special. Ella explained that on the last few holes, quite a contingent of spectators had begun following her match. It was one of the most competitive, and seeing Harlow Gregory cheering her on to the finish line helped “because there was no way I was going to let myself or my people down by letting it slip through my fingers.” Ella held on to win and now is excited for the challenge of playing in the Notah Begay Girls National Championship. In her post-round interview, Ella stated, “I believe it is going to be a great experience that will definitely push my game to a new level, and I am excited to see what I can put out there.”