Wins are nice, but Granite Pointe's Taylor still eager to improve
By Bruce Fuhr
The Nelson Daily Sports
It doesn’t happen ever day.
Fact is, it’s never happened in Lauren Taylor’s career, let alone twice in a span of a week.
Oh, the West Kootenay Junior golfer has won before, but never something this big.
Which is why the Granite Pointe at Nelson product is resting comfortably on Cloud Nine as she enters the Big Sky Conference Wyoming Cowgirl Classic Monday at the Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, AZ.
“To be a freshman and win not only one, but two events in a row feels so (amazing) . . . especially because I haven’t won anything this big throughout my golf career as an amateur,” Taylor told The Nelson Daily earlier this week after returning from California — site of wins at the Anteater and Folino Invitational Women’s Big Sky Tournaments.
“I was feeling very down after the 2010 season because I didn’t have a good summer playing golf.”
Not now, however.
The L.V. Rogers Bomber grad became the first freshman in Portland State University history to capture a women’s golf event.
Make that two in a row, a record that most likely won’t be easy to duplicate.
“I have won tournaments in the past, but not as prestigious as winning at the college level,” Taylor exclaimed, only the third Viking golfer to win two tournaments in a row.
“The last big tournament I won was in 2006 and it was a qualifier for the Junior Worlds and Optimist International, which qualified me for tournaments in Florida and San Diego.
“I won that tournament in a playoff and I was finally able to experience the excitement and adrenaline rush again in these past two tournaments.”
Most players at this level can definitely get the ball down the fairway off the tee — Taylor included.
But it’s getting from the middle of the fairway into the hole that separates the 30th-place player from the winner. Something Taylor perfected the past two weeks.
“The secret to my latest success is that I am very relaxed and focus on my breathing, along with the improvement of my short game,” explained the 19-year-old first-year education student.
“(Of course) the key to anybody’s golf game comes down to what happens around and on the greens.”
Taylor, bouncing on and off the Portland State playing roster for most of the early part of the year, opened the season in the fall of 2010 in Colorado with a 24th placing at the Heather Farr Memorial.
The next week Taylor saw her game improve to finish in a tie for seventh at the Oregon State/Washington Triangle tourney.
However, the next event in Hawaii she was left off the roster.
And when Taylor finally saw the first tee box again in March at Fresno State, she fell back down the leader board to 30th spot.
But two weeks later, the potential that people have seen for ages finally exploded in California like a $10,000 bottle of wine.
“I’m working very hard at my golf game and have been since I arrived at Portland State,” explained Taylor, earning Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honours after winning the Folino Invitational.
“I knew that I was more than capable to start shooting low numbers, it was just the fact that my short game needed to improve in order to see a change in my scores.”
“I have been focusing mainly on my short game during my practice time and it is definitely improving,” added Taylor, who joined teammates for a trek to Disneyland after the first win in California.
“However I still have a lot of work ahead of me in order to get my game to where I want it to be.”
19TH HOLE: Portland State is an urban university located in downtown Portland, Oregon. . . .The Cowgirl Classic happens on the same course as next week’s Big Sky Conference Championship. So the tournament is especially important for the Big Sky Teams as they get familiar with the course. . . . The Vikings will be among 23 teams competing, including all nine Big Sky Conference schools, at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic. . . .The Vikings are coming off a team win at the Anteater Invitational, the first of the season.