Before the Women’s Golf Team teed off their season in California last weekend, Coach Greg Allen answered a few questions for me about their upcoming Spring Season, their “core four,” as well as describing the games of his top two players.
Coach Allen is also the reigning SEC Coach of the Year. No word yet if it’s because he has an awesome last name.
SA: Coming off last year’s post season conference success, do your goals change for this year?
GA: With the majority of the girls coming back from last year’s team, managing our expectations was a big focus for us after such a successful year. And I thought we did a really nice job of that to begin the fall season. Unfortunately we lost that focus in November. I believe we’ve had a really good off-season. Many of the girls got some much-needed rest and we’ve been able to put in some good work. Our expectations remain the same each week. We want to be a little better today than we were yesterday and we want to have great attitudes and play with a lot of heart- a lot of heart and a lot of effort.
SA: You lost a senior in Courtney Zeng and Freshman Annie Kim, but you brought in three stellar freshman. How do you see them contributing to the team? Will their contributions be felt more than normal for freshmen, or about the same?
GA: We are really excited about our freshmen class but like most freshmen, we need to stay patient as they continue to grow and mature. So far this season, our top 4 girls in the lineup have stayed consistent so that 5th spot is wide open.
SA: You are returning several really good golfers, including two in the WAGR top 100, Auston and Abbey. How would you describe their games individually and their contributions as teammates?
GA: It’s nice to see the hard work and commitment pay off for Auston and Abbey. I’m not sure there’s anybody out there that will outwork Auston Kim. She’s a fierce competitor that can overpower a golf course. But she also understands what she needs to do in order to keep improving. She has worked extremely hard on her short game the past year and has become very good around the greens.
Abbey is also a very good ball striker has can make a lot of birdies. She has managed being an engineer major at Vanderbilt, which may be one of the most time consuming majors, and being a member of the golf team very well. Being our first player on the Palmer Cup team last year was very exciting. And having her and Auston earn the invitation to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur is quite the honor.
SA: Lastly, Morgan had a great post season after a good regular season. Is she a gamer? What do you attribute her stellar post season play to, and do you expect that level going into the 2020 season?
GA: Morgan may be the biggest golf fanatic I know. The kid loves to play, loves to practice, loves to watch it, loves everything about it. I believe having Auston on the team last year really helped Mo’s game. Those two constantly try to outwork each other. Mo’s final round at the NCAA Regional last spring might have been one of the most clutch rounds I’ve been around.
You didn’t ask, but I believe Louise Yu is worth talking about. She’s quietly having a stellar year. These four have been the core group of our team the last two years. Lou set a school record in September shooting 64 and continues to get better every time we play. It’s cool seeing our young ladies grow and mature during their time with us and Lou is one of those examples. Auston and Abbey may be getting most of the attention, but watch out for Lou!