By (Caroline Gazzara)

For the past year, junior Emma Talley faced each new day with optimism and hope. If she wasn’t on the greens playing golf, she was analyzing video footage or thinking about golf. Her motto is to keep getting better. And she did.

Talley won the 2015 NCAA Women’s Golf Individual crown on Monday with 3-under 285. She is the first player to win the individual title in Alabama’s history.

The junior is also the fifth player in history to win an individual title and a U.S. Amateur. The last time a player won both was in 2002-03.

“I played so well this whole year,” she said. “[In] this tournament, everything clicked … Everything went my way. I worked really hard so everything just came together.”

Talley is no stranger when it comes to success. The past two seasons have been some of her best both in collegiate golf and on her own. She shot 3-under 69 on the final day of the tournament, sealing her fate. Previously, she had an even par 216 going into the final round. Her final scores were 70-73-73-69.

The final round also marked Talley’s lowest score in her NCAA 
championship career.

Accompanied by her parents and her team, she embarked on one of her toughest competitions to date. Each of the starting five competed in the tournament but it came down to Talley in the final round to seal the deal.

Coach Mic Potter walked the greens with Talley as she competed. She said they talk about every day matters like school and life and he would advise her which club to use and how to hit it. His advice came in handy during the par-4 ninth hole as she hit the ball to the 
fairway bunker.

Talley said it was a tough shot, but after consulting with Potter she used a seven-iron to shoot the ball out of the sand towards the hole. She shot it within eight feet of the hole.

“I think once you’ve seen that golf course, people are gonna have no idea how well she played,” Potter said. “Unbelievable performance on a really hard course. She didn’t make a double-bogey all week. There were double-bogeys, triple-bogeys and higher every day by good players so it was just incredible how she 
managed herself.”

It was that shot that set her apart from the rest of the competition.

Talley said she was one of the first players to finish the last round of the tournament and although she knew she was leading the tournament, it was nerve-racking for her to watch her competitors try and best her score.

“They got really close to me, but they didn’t quite get there,” she said.

Talley won the tournament by one stroke against Arkansas junior Gaby Lopez and Duke freshman Leona 
Maguire. Both Lopez and Maguire shot 2-under 286.

With the season now over, Talley and the rest of the team will look forward to competing in outside tournaments or in the Ladies Professional Golf Association. For her, she will try to qualify for this year’s U.S. Open.

“It won’t hit me for awhile,” she said. “It’s a dream come true and I don’t think it will set in for a while.”

Source:: The Crimson White Sports