Taranaki golfer Holly Winter ready to back up solid start with West Texas A&M
Holly Winter had only been playing golf in the States for a year, but she already had a few extra items to bring back home to Taranaki.
The former New Plymouth Girls' High School student was back home this month after her freshman year at West Texas A&M where she was studying on a golf scholarship.
The 19-year-old made a great start to her collegiate golfing career, with the team claiming fourth place in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division two nationals, and Winter finished in a team-best ninth-placed finish in the individual standings.
The results saw her claim two trophies in her debut season.
"It was better than I expected," Winter said. "We were a very young team with three freshmen, including me."
In the NCAA competition, players have to qualify for their spot on the school's five-person team, then accumulate points through tournaments during the season.
The teams then go on to conference championships, then regionals if they qualify. Finally, teams in the top three at regionals go on to play in the national tournament.
"It's a bit confusing. It's a lot of golf, about five months straight."
Winter's team came first at regionals, and went on to finish fourth out of 12 teams to qualify for nationals.
"You could say it's fourth out of 170 teams because there's 170 teams in our division."
Winter, who hails from South Taranaki, couldn't guess at how many rounds of golf she had played over the past year, however she could say exactly how many classes she had to catch up on as a result.
"We missed 33 days of school, and I have two classes a day so that's 66 lessons - then you've got to find time to go and see your professors and catch up. It's pretty stressful...but at the end of the day I'll come out with a degree because of my golf."
Winter will travel back to the States on August 24 to get ready for her sophomore season with the team, and had her eye on a return to nationals.
"That's the ultimate goal. We've done it last year, and they did it the year before so a three-peat would be good. Another top 10 would be good, but I just want to keep on improving."