Player Diary: California's Joel Stalter (Part 1)
California’s Joel Stalter is a senior from Amneville, France. He was a second-team All-American, a second-team All-Pac 12 honoree and an All-American scholar during his junior season.
He picked up his first collegiate victories during the 2012-13 season at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate, and followed that up with co-medalist honors at the Arizona Intercollegiate.
Stalter will blog throughout the 2013-14 college season, and take us behind the scenes at golf tournaments, on and off the course.
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Hard to believe the 2013-14 season has already started, and even more staggering to think I am now on the run for my last year of college golf. It’s time for another great year, both on and off the course.
The team composition this week was very different than last year as we had two newbies, Cameron Shaw from England and Shotaro Ban, who both played very solid rounds to crack their way into the lineup. In addition to that, super-senior Pace Johnson was also on board after grinding through a long redshirt year. It’s a great feeling to have him competing in the tournament, as he was instrumental in the team that made it to the 2012 NCAA semifinals at Riviera, one of my greatest memories in college golf.
Given the success we had last year, it’s quite an understatement to say that we are all feeling a bit anxious, especially with Michael Weaver and Michael Kim missing as they are competing in the Walker Cup. No worries though, as we have associate head coach Walter Chun, our spiritual leader, leading the charge. Walter took care of the team as Coach Desimone was supporting our teammates at the Walker Cup. He made sure everyone was pumped up and ready to play. He even drove the team to Chipotle for dinner after the practice round. How does it get any better?
It’s Sunday morning, bright and early, and everyone is ready to tee up to officially start the season. I can feel everybody is a bit nervous, especially the new guys, but who would not be? It does not matter how many tournaments you have played in your life and how good you are, I believe everybody experiences this moment of anxiety on the first tee box. It’s a great feeling, one that shows you do not solely care about your own game but rather for your team, ultimately transposing individual performance into team efforts.
Unfortunately, we did not play as well as we wanted, which makes our travel back to campus quite bitter. But as competitors, we have trained our minds to move forward and I can tell everybody is ready to continue to work hard, as we are all eager to bounce back in our next tournament in Monterey. I am still very proud of this team, which fought for every single shot and never gave up.
Last but not least, a special shout out to my fellow teammates Max Homa, Kim and Weaver for their great performance at the Walker Cup. It’s hard for me to say this, but congratulations to the United States team. That being said, it is now time to open our books and catch up on some schoolwork.