Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Talent and tenacity drive Aztec golfer
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Christine Wong approached the July 2010 U.S. Women’s Open Golf Tournament with firm resolve. She set her sights on winning—nothing less.
For an amateur just completing her freshman year at San Diego State, such tenacity might have appeared reckless, but it was backed by solid reasoning.
“I’ve learned to set high goals,” Wong said. “If your goal is to make the cut, you might not make it. If you set out to win the tournament, you’re probably going to make the cut.”
Wong did just that. Playing in a mixed field of 156 pros and amateurs, she not only made the cut of the top 60, but also finished as the second-ranked amateur at 21-over 305. She was fifth in fairway hits, 15th in distance off the tee, and 24th in putting.
“Her stats were incredible for a first-time appearance (at the Open),” said the SDSU women’s coach, Emilee Klein. “Christine held her own and showed everyone how good she really is.”
The Women’s Open was just part of a busy summer for Wong, who finished 17th at the 2010 Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championships and won the British Columbia Women’s Amateur Championship by a whopping 11 strokes.
Wong is a standout, but it took more than one talented player to attract the national spotlight that’s currently shining on SDSU women’s golf. In Klein’s first year as coach, the team climbed nearly 40 spots in the Golfstat standings.
Klein holds the women to a high standard. A former Women’s British Open champion and holder of an individual NCAA title, she instituted a rigorous regime of daily pitching and putting drills. The Aztec women have blossomed under Klein, and their sights are set on loftier goals as they play nine tournaments in six different states this season.
In March 2011, SDSU will play host to the inaugural Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn, a 17-team event that includes nine teams ranked in the top-15 of GolfStat.com’s 2010 national rankings. The field is highlighted by defending national champion Purdue, as well as perennial powers Arizona State, Arizona, USC and UCLA.
“We will really have to bring the best of ourselves to play next year,” Wong said. “Sometimes, it’s a struggle to be recognized alongside football and basketball athletes, but I think we are going to do a better job of spreading the word about golf.”
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