North Texas Daily

A game of inches: Audrey Tan’s unending search for perfection in an imperfect game

A game of inches: Audrey Tan’s unending search for perfection in an imperfect game

A game of inches: Audrey Tan’s unending search for perfection in an imperfect game
April 02
09:00 2021

While the women’s golf program has had a successful season so far, senior Lauren Cox’s scores and placements can overshadow the rest of the team. One such player who has been playing consistently well so far into the season has been junior Audrey Tan.

Head coach Michael Akers recruited Tan from Malaysia to come to North Texas when she was only 16 years old, despite the fact that she had just started playing golf at age 13. In addition to being younger than most freshmen, Tan had to adapt to a totally new lifestyle in America.

“Not only was she young but she was coming to a new country, a new school and a new coach,” Akers said. “So many things were thrown at her.”

Nevertheless, Tan has thrived during her time in North Texas. In her first season, Tan averaged a stroke score of 75.73, then subsequently lowered it the next season to 74.22, good for third all-time on the program list.

This spring season, Tan has been unable to match last year, scoring an average of 74.53 but still good for second-best on the team. However, Tan believes the stats do not express the full story of her recent play.

“I feel like the results do not tell how much progress I have made,” Tan said. “Golf is such a tough game. You have your up and downs, but I have come really far since last season.” 

Tan’s focus over her years with the Mean Green has consistently been improving her mental game in golf, which she believes is a vastly underrated aspect of the game.

“For me, it is my mental game that I focus on a lot that I think keeps me where I am,” Tan said. “There’s a famous quote I like that says ‘Golf is played on a six-inch course between the ears.’” 

In the eyes of her teammate, junior Patricia Sinolungan, another part of Tan that stands out is her intense work ethic.

“I think that she is a perfectionist in her work,” Sinolungan said. “She cares so much and she wants to perform the best that she can every single time.”

Akers agreed with the assessment, believing that Tan’s tenacity to strive for greatness is admirable. Nonetheless, he still says that perfect expectations in a sport where variables are always present are unreasonable.

“I think that we all strive for perfection […] and that’s a great trait,” Akers said. “At the same time, golf is not a game of perfect. The ball is not going to go where you want it to go every time […] it’s a matter of ‘That shot is over, I have to go address the next shot.’”

Tan has realized this over the years, and has recently become kinder with herself and more tempered with her expectations.

“I’ve learned to put things into perspective and not be too harsh on myself,” Tan said. “Golf is such a hard game and I’m only human […] I need to look on the bright side of things because you’re going to have good days and bad days.”

Despite knowing this, Tan recognizes how difficult it can be to simply have faith in yourself on a golf course.

“It sounds so simple in words, just believe in yourself, just trust your shot, look at the target and hit the ball,” Tan said. “The mind can get very crowded though, and it is one of the most challenging things to do on the course.”

While Akers acknowledges that Cox has been unbelievable, he also mentions that as a junior, Tan is one of the best players in program history.

“Judging by scoring averages, Audrey is the second-best player to ever play at UNT,” Akers said. “Lauren will graduate this year and move on to the professional rank, then Audrey will be theoretically our leader on the course next year.”

Even though golf can be extremely strenuous, Tan still thrives on the competition and the joy she finds playing for North Texas keeps her motivated.

“I love competing regardless of how I shoot,” Tan said. “I always have fun on the course, so I’m just going out to play some good golf and I’ll see where it goes.”

Featured Image: Junior golfer Audrey Tan lines up her shot during The Bruzzy tournament on March 28, 2021. Image by Zachary Thomas

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Caleb Yum

Caleb Yum

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