With five years on the LPGA Tour under her belt, Meaghan Francella's visits to her hometown are few and far between.
Today, the Port Chester native makes a triumphant return as one of only four athletes to be inducted into the Westchester County Sports Hall of Fame.
"When I heard about it, I was shocked, because I didn't know I was nominated," she said.
The 29-year-old pro golfer is best known for a storybook 2007 win, when she held off former world number one Annika Sörenstam in a four-hole playoff.
Inductees are athletes "who have gained national prominence and contributed to sports in Westchester," according to the county. In addition to an awards ceremony tonight at Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester, inductees are honored with permanently-placed plaques in Westchester County Center.
Francella is joined by Tony Fiorentino, the former Mount Vernon High School basketball coach who went on to assistant coaching gigs in the NBA; rowing great Jim Eich of New Rochelle; and Mount Vernon's Rodney McCray, a former NBA forward who played on Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, including the 1993 championship team.
Aside from tonight's Hall of Fame ceremony, Francella's local itinerary includes a visit to in Rye, one of her favorite eateries, and catching up with "people who I don't get to see very often."
Although she spends the majority of her time practicing, traveling and playing in tournaments, Francella said Port Chester remains close to her heart.
"Port Chester's been so supportive of me," she said, "and I'm lucky to come from such a great place."