Women’s golfer edged her way to first in NCAA Fall preview

Catherine McCurdy, Staff Writer

As the women’s golf team was competing in Florida in their NCAA Fall Preview Tournament three weekends ago, An Shelmire, ’25, was not expecting to check the leaderboard and see her name at the top, let alone in first place.

Shemire came out on top in one of her best games – only one stroke less than second place.

The preview was different than typical tourna-ments. Usually, a tournament would have a paper score card, but this one had a digital scorecard. Players logged scores after every hole. And every player could see the leaderboard.

Going into the second day, Shelmire was three over par, which put her in a higher eight or ten place.

“I played the next nine holes, and I got a good even game and one under, and realized I tied for fourth,” Shelmire said. “I had passively worked my way up to the leaderboard to fourth.”

Once she realized she was a contender for first, she didn’t let the pressure get to her. She focused on the swing.

“A good swing gets you a good result, which gets you a good score,” Shelmire said.

Shelmire was tied for first going into her eighteenth hole. All Shelmire had to do was stay steady with par. She just focused on herself and her swing.

Shelmire hit two shots into the bunker, but ended up pulling out a par on a four-foot put.

“I made sure not to check the leaderboard before that shot. At the very last second, I took the lead,” Shelmire said.

Shelmire doesn’t crack under pressure. She knows her game and herself. She takes practice and puts it right on the green.

“Golf is a superstitious sport. I keep everything super consistent,” Shelmire said. “I’m never thinking of the end result. It’s always about the moment.”

Coach Matthew Ragovin, the head Women’s Golf coach, attests that Shelmire’s mental game is the strongest aspect of her play.

“You can’t really say that about a whole lot of golfers,” he said. “It can be very difficult to be focused on the task at hand and really get the job done.”

Shelmire has been playing golf and developing her skill since seventh grade. She said she always knew she wanted to play golf at the collegiate level.

“She really knows her game and that’s something college golfers need to have to be at the next level – and she’s definitely at that level,” Ragovin said.

Not only does Shelmire bring good technical skill to the team, but her character is also an asset, accord-ing to her coach and teammates.

“An is a leader–vocally and with her game. She’s only been here for a short time and she really has a strong presence within a team,” Ragovin said. “I think even the older players look up to her, especially on the golf course.”

Senior captain Megan Kanaby agrees.

“An’s greatest strength as a teammate is her selflessness,” Kanaby said. “She wants everyone to play well, and she wants to play well for us.”

The preview tournament gave Shelmire confidence for the rest of the season. The opponents she faced will be the same ones she’ll see at more important future tournaments. However, she is not focused on them, only herself and the team.

“W&L has taught me that if you put yourself in a good environment, you will get good results,” Shelmire said. “Our team is so supportive of one another; we care about each other and how well we all do.”

The team recently played another tournament in Alabama and broke many records as a whole. The Generals travel to Destin, Florida for the Golfweek Division III Invitational from October 15 to 18, where they hope to keep their strong performance streak going.