Athlete’s Voices: Kylie Strijek, Episode 1. Siena Golf, Kicking Off the Spring Season
DoubleGSports.com has partnered with some local athlete’s to develop this great column titled, Athlete’s Voices. In this column, some of your favorite local athletes will share their lives with you, both on and off the playing surface. Each athlete will post a blog, once a month, updating you on their latest happenings. Today’s post is by Kylie Strijek, a member of the Siena College Women’s Golf Team. Follow Kylie as she will post a blog on the tenth of every month.
Our spring season could not have started any better. After spending the last four and a half months covered in snow and ice, we were finally heading south to one of the best places on Earth: Pinehurst.
Pinehurst is one of the premier golf resorts in the world, full of historic moments and host to a number of prestigious golf tournaments. The resort has eight courses, the most famous being Course No. 2, designed by none other than Donald Ross (the best course architect in my book). The resort hosts the annual North and South Open, an amateur event, and has hosted a number of men’s and women’s championships over the years. The most memorable championship was arguably the 1999 U.S. Open when the late, great Payne Stewart beat out Phil Mickelson in the final stretch; there is even a statue on the grounds commemorating his famous fist bump (a necessary photo opportunity for any golf fan). Course No. 2 will be extremely busy this summer, when both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open Championships will be held just two weeks apart.
From the moment we stepped off the plane, we couldn’t wait to hit the links and experience our own little slice of history, but not before an hour-long car ride, which resembled an audition episode of American Idol more than a trip down the highway.
Our first tournament of the season kicked off on Saturday, March 15th with the Pinehurst Challenge hosted by the College of Charleston. When we teed off it was sunny skies with a high of 70 degrees; I couldn’t have asked for more perfect golf weather. Our tee times began late in the day and my team was unable to finish our rounds that day due to darkness, leaving us to finish the following day on top of another 36 holes to be played.
Sunday morning came extremely early, but waking up to the breakfast at Pinehurst was well worth it. Since my freshman year, our team motto has always been “eat til it hurts,” coined by Katelynn Mannix, class of 2011. As soon as we approached the breakfast buffet at Pinehurst, we lived up to the team motto. I recommend trying the varieties of breakfast meats as all of them were excellent.
Unfortunately, the sun stayed hidden that Sunday and the rain moved in, forcing us to conclude play after 18 holes. As we left the course completely drenched, we were excited for our next event of the season in Kentucky.
Two weeks later, we were headed south again, this time to Bowling Green, Kentucky for the WKU Lady Topper Classic. The tournament was held on Bowling Green Country Club, one of the oldest courses in Kentucky established in 1913. This was to be another 54-hole event, with 36 played on Monday and 18 on Tuesday.
By the time we reached the course that Monday morning at 7am, it was already warmer than the high would be that day in Albany and only got better from there. As per usual, my eastern European heritage came through as I began to turn the crimson red shade of Big Red, the Hilltopper mascot. We were the only team from the Northeast in this event, and based on our burn lines after the round, we stuck out from the competition.
Despite feeling the burn, the girls saw great improvement as a whole in round three, moving us up the leader board from fifth after round two up to a third place finish. After a successful first two events, we look forward to a triumphant remainder of the season, hopefully with a few more warm rounds thrown in.
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