I apologize to everyone for not getting this blog completed in a more timely fashion. We won our first tournament of the year Oct. 7, the Schooner Fall Classic at Belmar Golf Club in Norman, Okla., despite not having Julie Yang, who was at LPGA Q-School. After a few close calls in our first two events (third and a second), it was an amazing feeling to win. The entire event was incredible, from the limo ride from our hotel to the gala dinner the night before play to getting our picture taken walking the red carpet and meeting Toby Keith. It was all really fun. College tournaments are EVENTS!
My play in this event was similar to the first two events of the year … spotty. Having qualified for our first three events, it’s been an interesting learning experience playing on the road with a group. Even though I shot 68 with six birdies in the final round of the Schooner, I have yet to put three great rounds together which, personally, has been disappointing. It’s funny because it is not just one thing. My putting and ball striking have been solid but my usually trusty short game has been a bit of a letdown (still not a real reason for the scores). I do feel I let my team down, especially in our second event, with some decisions that weren’t great, but overall I need and expect to do better. On the positive side, I am working really hard at one of the nation’s top college courses and I will get it corrected in an attempt to help win a national championship.
I went home for a weekend for the first time in a few months before homecoming. I got a chance to visit with my trainer, physical therapist and one of my coaches. It was great to get a checkup prior to what I thought would be my last event of the year. It’s amazing the little things I took for granted all these years by listening but not really learning about my swing. My dad and coaches know my swing best and after only a few swings indoors and then on the range we fixed a small issue that had bothered me since arriving in Stillwater. I left California knowing I can help my team, and that makes me feel good.
My first homecoming was fun, fun, fun. Having been in an independent study school almost all of high school, I never had the opportunity to attend homecoming or dances or really any celebration at school. From going over to Gallagher-Iba Arena for Homecoming and Hoops (ESPN was here to televise it) or going to walkaround on Friday, it was all awesome. The biggest homecoming in the country was truly not what I expected … it was bigger and better! With Pistol Pete and Championship Orange everywhere, it was just mind blowing. You have to imagine a sea of orange in Stillwater not just at walkaround, but inside Gallagher-Iba Arena and at Boone Pickens Stadium. I was there to ride the wave of school pride.
When I agreed to write this blog for Golfweek I wanted to help people reading it get an idea of what college golf is like for a 17-year-old girl, and to be honest in what I wrote. Well, a few months in I can tell you it’s not all as I had expected. If I could give one piece of advice, I would say take the school side seriously because if you don’t, you won’t play, and I didn’t in our last event. As a person who wants to make golf my living, this experience has made me realize the system created for me to succeed in golf is different than the system created for the college golfer. The day timer and alarm clock are now my best friends. When I wake up, when I practice and when I train all is now precisely scheduled with everybody’s class and golf schedules in mind. For a 17-year-old who doesn’t own a watch, never used an alarm clock that didn’t have grey hair and only went to class to pick up my assignments, it’s been quite a culture shock.
That’s it for now. Next up I promise to write about my cool roommate Carla the tennis player (who is teaching me Spanish and how to cook), a visit from my mom and my playing schedule outside of school the rest of the year.