Freshman takes the lead early in the season

Freshman Abigail Heringer has taken the Northwest Conference by storm this season.  As a first year athlete, Heringer has finished consistently within the top-five players at almost every match this fall season.

As a freshman just making her NCAA Division III debut, Heringer has shown the competition that she is a talented golfer and is a strong asset for the Linfield’s women’s golf program.

Heringer picked up her golf clubs at the tender age of four as her grandparents lived right by a golf course and enjoyed the game themselves. She started to take part competitively in the sport in middle school with her membership to the Salem Golf Club, as well as competing for South Salem High School’s golf team.

“Golf takes a lot of practice for everybody,” Heringer said when asked if her natural talent helped contribute to her success in the sport. “It’s definitely not something you can just pick up.”

A natural strength Heringer does have however is good patience.  This personality trait she admits has helped her become a better golfer.

“I guess that’s what may make me naturally good at golf is my patience, but the technical stuff definitely only comes with lots of practice,” Heringer said.

As the years went on, Heringer began to lose interest in the sport. She admits that at the beginning of high school, she struggled with golf and felt as if she was falling out of love with the sport.

“When I met the golf coach that I have now, he showed me a different side of golf, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be playing golf here at Linfield. He always knew how to push me as a player and eventually convinced me to play in college,” Heringer said.

Another person who has influenced her golf career is her own grandmother, who introduced Heringer to her high school coach and always supported Heringer during her high school matches.

“She never put the emphasis on winning,” Heringer said. “She was always more focused on whether I was having fun with the sport and not ‘in it to win it.’”

Heringer’s greatest strength she admits isn’t her swing, but her strong mental game.

“I’m relatively short compared to other players in the conference, so obviously hitting for distance isn’t my greatest strength. But when you see me competing you’ll never see me look upset or throwing my clubs and I think that’s one of the things that help me do really well is that I don’t let one bad shot ruin my game,” Heringer said.

Heringer’s mental strength and positive attitude has also proven to be a huge asset for the team as she strives to keep her team looking forward and staying positive.

“I want to help maintain a fun and light atmosphere,” Heringer said. “I like to ask my team mates how they did and listen to what they think they did well in and what they think they need to work on. I also like to point out the brighter side of my team mate’s playing during certain rounds.”

In terms of goals and aspirations for this season, Heringer is looking forward to working on becoming a more consistent player.

“Score-wise, I would love to hit in the 70’s more consistently,” Heringer said. She also expresses that she wants to continue to maintain a healthy relationship with the game and enjoy golfing for the rest of her Linfield career.

The women’s golf program’s next tournament will be a home dual meet against Lewis and Clark College on Oct. 20 at Michelbook Country Club.

By Camille Weber/Sports columnist