North Texas Daily

Freshman Jennings finds success on women’s golf team

Freshman Jennings finds success on women’s golf team

Freshman Jennings finds success on women’s golf team
October 20
20:48 2015

Brady Keane | Staff Writer


Although the North Texas women’s golf team has gotten off to a slow start this season, freshman Kalli Jennings has been a bright spot for the team moving forward.

Jennings joined the Mean Green this season after unprecedented success as a golfer at Andrews High School in West Texas. Jennings was a member of four state championship golf teams and helped lead Andrews to the school’s fifth straight state championship last season.

After such a high level of success at the high school level, Jennings visited multiple college campuses before settling on North Texas. In addition to the plethora of beautiful golf courses in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, interim head coach Barry Niemann played a large role in Jennings decision.

“The biggest thing was the coaching,” Jennings said. “[Niemann] watched me play the back nine at the tournament, and I actually shot 1-under and it felt like he was good luck or something. I visited multiple campuses, but North Texas just felt like home.”

Playing in such a championship culture at the high school level has been a motivating factor for the freshman. Jennings has high aspirations that include reaching the NCAA Golf Championships and moving on to the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

“It definitely pushes me,” Jennings said. “I have the taste of championships, and I don’t want to lose that. I just want to go as far as I can in all of it and build on that success.”

According to Andrews High School head golf coach Mark Burgen, the development of that championship mindset goes all the way back to before Jennings joined the golf team at Andrews.

“Kalli moved to Andrews in eighth grade,” Burgen said. “From the very beginning of me knowing her, she has had that type of work ethic and dedication in her golf improvement.”

In addition to the championship mindset Jennings brings to the table, the unparalleled work ethic stands out to her teammates at North Texas as well.

“She is a really hard worker,” senior golfer Laura DeLeonardis said. “Kalli gets to practice before everyone else, and she’s the last one to leave.”

Through the first three tournaments of the fall campaign, Jennings’ best round was a 73 in the Bob Hurley Shootout. The freshman is averaging a just over a 77 per round this season, which is second on the Mean Green behind junior Eji Kwon.

“She’s jumped right in and performed above expectations for a normal freshman,” Niemann said. “Normally it takes a little while for freshmen to get their feet on the ground, but she hit the ground running.”

One thing that has helped her preform so well so quickly is the powerful swing that Jennings brings to the course.

Before choosing to focus solely on golf at the high school level, Jennings played softball in middle school and credits that to helping develop some of the power that helps drive the ball on the course.

“People tell me that softball is where I get my power,” Jennings said. “I started when I was little and played all growing up, but didn’t play in high school.”

Jennings will look to continue to build on the fast start to her freshman season at the 36th Annual FIU Pat Bradley Invitational from Oct. 25-27 in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. It will be the last tournament of the fall for the Mean Green, and the team will be off until the Texas State Spring Challenge in February.

“I’ve had a few good rounds,” Jennings said. “But I’m hoping to continue to improve and be more comfortable and confident in my game. I want to tackle that going into the Florida tournament, and hopefully it will show through my scores.”

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