As expected, the class of 2010 is making an immediate impact on the links this fall. Here’s a look at four freshmen who started the year under the radar but are quickly making a name for themselves:
• Kristin Coleman, Colorado: Coleman, of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., has been a model of consistency for the Buffs in three tournaments this season. With a stroke average of 73.78, Coleman is firmly in the No. 3 spot, backing up the play of junior Jessica Wallace and junior Emily Talley. Coleman’s best finish came Oct. 5, at the Johnnie Imes Invitational, where she shot 4-over 220 to finish T-9.
“She knows how to score. It doesn’t really matter if she’s not hitting it perfectly, she finds a way to score,” head coach Anne Kelly said.
As if Coleman, No. 143 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, wasn’t motivated enough, she also has a twin sister, Jenny, on the team. Kelly expects Jenny, who has the fifth-lowest scoring average, to round the corner soon and also contribute for the Buffs.
“(Kristin) is a competitor, she’s just really steady,” Kelly said. “She doesn’t let bad shots upset her. She works real hard, and when she’s in a tournament situation, she just goes about her business.”
• Sanna Nuutinen, TCU: Coming from Helsinki, Finland, Nuutinen made an immediate impact on the Frogs’ lineup, shooting a final-round 68 at the season-opening Branch Law/Dick McGuire Invitational. The round was two shots shy of tying the 18-hole scoring record, and boosted Nuutinen to a seventh-place finish in her college debut. Nuutinen is No. 168 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
Head coach Angie Larkin says the transition to TCU has been smooth for Nuutinen, a former member of the Finnish national team, and that she’s already contributing a lot of intangibles.
“She’s very coachable, she’s very much of a team player, she listens, she’s got a very competitive way about her but also a very light-hearted way about her,” Larkin said. “She’s got a perfect demeanor for golf.”
• Nicola Roessler, California: Roessler was a teammate of Cal senior standout Pia Halbig during their days on the German national team. Head coach Nancy McDaniel classifies her as an all-around solid student-athlete, and she’s No. 140 in the Golfweek/Sagarins after T-26 and T-39 in her first two starts with the Golden Bears.
“I expect to see more from her as she settles into our lineup,” McDaniel said.
• Devon Brown, Northwestern: Brown is another freshman who shot out of the gates this season, finishing T-3 at the Wolverine Invitational while also leading the Wildcats to a third-place finish as a team. Brown shot 12-over 225 (73-78-74) at the Wolverine and has settled in as a solid contributor, finishing at 19 over in two more tournaments.
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Their kind of place: Something about the Northwest just suits Nancy McDaniel’s Cal team. That, and the squad really doesn’t like to lose.
The Golden Bears won their second straight Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational on Oct. 6, this time playing at a different course. Last year’s tournament was contested at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash., but this year the tournament was held at Tacoma (Wash.) Country Club. Part of the magic is that Cal likes that area of the country, where McDaniel says the fairways are green and the putting surfaces are pure. Then again, there’s the redemption factor.
Last year, California had just lost to Pepperdine by a single shot at the Golfweek Women’s Conference Challenge, and this year the Golden Bears were outplayed by USC and UCLA in the final round of the Mason Rudolph.
“That’s a good reminder – you don’t have to talk about it a lot to have that feeling in your players’ hearts when they tee it up the next time,” McDaniel said. “There’s definitely a little fire.”
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Short shots: Pepperdine sophomore Danielle Kang tied Natsuka Hori for low-amateur honors Oct. 3 at the Japan Women’s Open. Kang, who received an exemption after winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur, shot 7-over 295 (75-75-72-73) to finish T-19. . . . Daytona State College won the USF/Waterlefe Invitational Oct. 5, beating 19 Division I and II teams. Daytona State came from behind to finish eight shots ahead of Division II national champions Nova Southeastern. . . . North Texas junior Kelsey Kipp shot a final-round 2-under 70 at the Rose City Invitational Sept. 28 and forced a playoff for the individual title with Oregon State’s Whitney French (both were at 1-under 215). Twelve holes and nearly three hours later, Kipp won the title.
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A look ahead
What: Tar Heel Invitational
When: Oct. 8-10
Where: UNC Finley Golf Course
Why it’s important: Six of the top 10 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings are in the field, including top-ranked LSU. Also among those six are Alabama, which won the NCAA Fall Preview, and Virginia, which won the Golfweek Women’s Conference Challenge.
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Five questions with Rollins junior Fabia Rothenfluh, who won the Nittany Lion Women’s Invitational by a shot for her first individual collegiate victory.
1.) This is your first collegiate win. How does this change your outlook going forward?
I think this win, it meant a lot to me because it was a Division I tournament, lots of really good schools were there. I will have to try to win again. I am good enough to win and that’s something that meant a lot to me to see that. It just gives you confidence.
2.) You also are an ice skater. How did you decide golf was the thing you wanted to focus on?
I was skating for a while, actually. I was on a synchronized skating team, I was skating for two different teams and also competing in national competitions. I was the captain of one of the teams for about three years and for me it was always balance. During the winter time I did ice skating and during the summer I played golf. I just realized golf is more of a sport I can play all my life and skating is something that has to end at one point and I just felt more passionate about golf in the end and being out in nature and it’s just a fascinating sport because I feel like you can always get better.
3.) You’re from Switzerland, and have played on the Swiss national team. How is it different from playing for Rollins?
You are playing together at the European Championship and the World Championship and besides that we mostly compete against each other to qualify for certain tournaments. . . . With the national team you maybe have two or three camps during the summer and that’s about it. With the Rollins team, you practice together and we play together on a regular basis so we know each other’s game, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and you’re much more a team.
4.) What’s the biggest difference between golf courses back home and golf courses in Florida?
The grass is a lot different. The Bermuda grass and on the greens, it’s a lot different I would say. Also the temperature and the sea level makes the height of the courses so the ball doesn’t fly the same difference. Another difference from what we have here, we measure in yards and at home they measure in meters.
5.) You embarked on a pretty large project over the summer. Tell me about it.
I am trying to set up a micro-finance project in Nepal. I am involved in a club here at college and we went to Nepal for three weeks this past summer to renovate a school and to have a health camp in which we treated about 2-3,000 patients in four days and we gave out school stationary and supplies for about 185 children. We are planning on expanding that project and we will try to provide clear and safe drinking water for a whole village of 10,000 people and we will have the health camp again but we will try to expand, if possible. We will finish renovating the school and (give out) more school supplies.