Move over, there’s a new sheriff in town.
After Texas Tech’s Kimberly Kaufman held the No. 1 spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings for the most part of the college season, Oklahoma State’s Kelsey Vines has taken over the top spot.
The senior, who hails from Austin, Texas, transferred to Oklahoma State from BYU at the beginning of her junior year. Vines made the move because her family – who moved to St. George, Utah, after her freshman year of high school – was moving back to Texas once she graduated high school.
“Just being away from home was hard, and living in the cold weather,” Vines said. “I went from playing every day to just hitting balls in doors, and driving three hours south on the weekends to play.”
It was an adjustment period for her.
“I really enjoyed it there. It was a really good grind time for me,” Vines added. “But I wanted to play every day.”
Enter Oklahoma State.
“It’s been really good. We have the best practice facilities and the coaches (Alan Bratton and Courtney Jones) are really great,” Vines said. “They realize the areas of my game that I need to work on and they understand the weakness and help me with them.”
One of her weakness was her putting. It was always ‘OK’ but never up to standard.
She went to see putting instructor Geoff Mangum over Christmas break. She and her father had heard about him and wanted to see if he would help.
The results speak for themselves.
When she returned to Stillwater for the spring season, she claimed her first victory of the year at the Hurricane Invitational on Feb. 5 (it was her fourth career collegiate victory) and finished T-2 at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate. As a senior, she owns six top-five finishes in seven events for the Cowgirls.
“Now it’s probably the best part of my game,” Vines said of her putting. “Before it had always been my ball striking, so consistent, and I never really lose that.”
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TEEING IT UP: Minnesota women’s golf coach Michele Redman collected a Legends Tour victory on Feb. 24 at the Walgreens Charity Classic in Sun City West, Ariz. Redman shot a final-round, bogey-free 4-under 68.
“I hit the ball great. It was fun, like I didn’t miss a beat. It was nice to just relax and play some golf,” Redman said. The two-time LPGA winner earned $30,000 for the victory.
She played in the event at Grandview Golf Course because she wants to play in the Handa Cup in May. She had to play in at least one event to make the team. Redman couldn’t play in any other events because of how the rest of her coaching schedule pans out.
This was Redman’s second victory in five career starts on the Legends Tour. She only played once last year because she wanted to spend her first year on the job at Minnesota focusing on building up the Gopher program.
In 2013, she says she intends to play four or five Legends events.
“I have tons of support from administrative here at school,” Redman said. “It’s good for recruiting purposes and our athletic program.”
For the 2014-15 season, Redman will play on the LPGA with her top-40 career money list exemption. It’s a one-year exemption. She will not take a leave of absence from Minnesota, but rather play only a few events around the team’s schedule.
She wants to play competitively for as long as she can.
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A NEW CHALLENGE: BYU will host the NCAA Division I Women’s West Regional in 2015 at Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club in St. George, Utah on May 7-9.
“Entrada is such a tremendous course,” said Theresa Becker, chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Committee and associate athletics director at Kansas, in a statement. “It will be a great challenge for our student-athletes, and we know BYU will do a tremendous job serving as host.”
The 2015 Central and East Regionals were awarded to Texas-San Antonio at the Briggs Ranch Golf Club and North Carolina State at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course.
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5 questions with Gonzaga’s Alice Kim
Gonzaga sophomore Alice Kim earned her first collegiate victory Feb. 26 at the UC Irvine Invitational. With her victory, she has earned an exemption into the LPGA’s Kia Classic, March 21-24.
1. How does it feel to win your first college tournament?
It still hasn’t sunk in, and I don’t think it will until next week. It will just take some time, but I am really excited.
2. You shot a single-round school record with an opening-round 67, and tied teammate Raychelle Santos’ 54-hole record of 215 in claiming victory, how do you feel about being in the Gonzaga record books?
Being in the record books is really nice. And it feel really good. And I actually thought she shot one-shot better but when I looked at it, like on paper, I saw we had the shot the same thing. Anyways, its always nice to help and improve the program.
3. What’s the best part of your game right now?
I wasn’t playing very well before this tournament; I was actually playing pretty bad. My mental was not even close to the proximity of my head. I climbed out of it, the well that I was in, and now my mental game is much better.
But at this past tournament, golf wise, my irons were good. I was sticking a lot of flags and my distance control was really good.
4. An LPGA exemption is part of your victory, how excited are you to play in your first LPGA event at the Kia Classic?
That definitely has not sunk in. Some people I know are more excited than I am right now, so that’s how I know it hasn’t sunk in yet. And I’m still trying to figure out how I am going to be inside the ropes and being at an LPGA event and actually playing. It’s been a long time dream and I’m still in it. It’s just awesome.
5. Who do you want to be paired with at the tournament?
To tell you the truth, I really don’t know. And I know she won’t be there, but someday I want to play with Annika Sorenstam at some point, to see how she plays. And Yani Tseng that would be awesome. But you get who you get, and I’ll be happy with anyone.