Leaders and laughs: Wake Forest women's golf recipe for success

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Leaders and laughs: Wake Forest women's golf recipe for success

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Leaders and laughs: Wake Forest women's golf recipe for success

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LAKE ELMO, MINN. — You’ll be hard-pressed to find a women’s golf team that has more fun than Wake Forest.

The Demon Deacons were smiling and laughing from start to finish this week at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, and for good reason.

Despite inclement weather early and gusting winds late on Wednesday, Wake Forest cruised en route to the team title by an impressive 14 strokes at 17 under, led by freshman Rachel Kuehn, who picked up the individual title with a wire-to-wire win in her first-ever college event.

“We’re always joking around, laughing, having a good time,” said Kuehn with a smile. “Anytime we’re together we’re having a ball.”

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“We have the most fun,” added head coach Kim Lewellen. “They’re really nice young ladies, I was fortunate (associated head coach Ryan Potter) and (former coach Dianne Dailey) recruited these ladies and I came in to a situation of outstanding players and people.”

While it may look like fun and games for the squad from Winston Salem, North Carolina, there’s plenty of hard work being done. The message going forward after their blowout victory: Keep working.

“Other teams are going to keep working and getting better,” said Lewellen, who went on to quote Tiger Woods’ mantra of needing his bad golf to be better than everyone else’s good golf. “I think that’s what all of us try to do. The bad days you still need to be good to compete at this level.”

The Demon Deacons’ can go about eight players deep, meaning every week a few great players will be left at home. Kuehn, for example, failed to qualify for the team’s season opener last week at the Cougar Classic, missing out by one shot. That’s when their leaders step in.

“(Emilia Migliaccio) and (Siyun “Swing” Liu) have been great role models for all the underclassmen,” Kuehn said. “They really work hard and set the standard. Everyone sees something they can look up to in Emilia and Swing.”

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Before the event, Potter had nothing but praise for his upperclassmen, who both bring something different to the team.

“Emilia is just really kind and thoughtful. She cares about everyone around her. As far as being a leader, that’s important. It’s great to have that when she’s your best player,” said Potter. “Jennifer Kupcho left big shoes to fill, but we’re lucky to have a top 10 player in the world to step up. It’s hard to replace the best player in the world, but we have some depth and good leadership.”

As for Liu, it’s her work ethic and “infectious personality.”


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“It’s great for her to be on our team, we got really lucky that she wanted to come play for us. She’s a great player, obviously, and she wants to do this as a career so she works really hard, but she’s also a great person” added Potter. “She’s always lifting people up and never seems to have a bad day. When you have three freshman looking up to her for how to act, it’s great. She’s been a big leader for us.”

Potter said he knew freshmen Lauren Walsh and Kuehn were going to contribute, but said the team didn’t have any expectations for the season. Walsh finished T-6 this week at 3 under.

“What we do in the Fall is evaluate, then figure out how to get better,” explained Potter.

So far, so good.

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