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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Athlete of the week: Sherlyn Popelka

Seventeen-year-old freshman UA women’s golfer Sherlyn Popelka made her presence felt in the golf world last week as she led the UA women’s golf team to their first team win in six years at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown in Boulder City, Nev. In only her third collegiate start, the highly recruited Zurich, Switzerland native took home the individual honors by way of a 209, seven-under-par. The Arizona Daily Wildcat caught up with Popelka to talk about her tournament victory, her love for the Titanic and favorite tunes.

Daily Wildcat: How exciting was it to get a tournament victory in only your third collegiate event?

Popelka: Oh it was so exciting, I was really excited. All of my friends and family back home know and they all had time to call and tell me, so I’m just really excited. It’s a good way to end the fall season.

DW: It was the team’s first win in six years, how special was it to be a part of that?

SP: That was probably the most amazing part because, I mean, we were there as a team and for everyone to have played so well and for us to win, it was just so cool, really cool.

DW: Obviously you played really well, was there anything you did differently to prepare for this tournament?

SP: Not really, we had just came back from Stanford so we didn’t have that much time to prepare anything more. So it was just going in with a positive mindset, I think.

DW: I know you trained at the Annika Sorenstam Academy and actually have the same swing coach and conditioning coach as her. How is your relationship with Annika?

SP: Well I mean I don’t know her that well personally, she pops in and out of the academy from time to time but Henry and Kai, my coaches, they both know (about the tournament win) and they’re really excited. They are just happy for me, and we keep in touch.

DW: How was your experience at the Academy?

SP: It was great, I love it. Because it’s like a small-home feeling, everyone knows each other and it’s just a good environment to improve in.

DW: How much do you think that helped your game?

SP: Tremendously. I feel like over the past two years that I was there I’ve made the most progress in my game.

DW: Do you have any pre-tournament rituals?

SP: Not really, but when I play I have a couple of things. Like I always use Swiss 1-frank coin and it always has to be heads side up when I mark my ball. That’s like the one superstition I have because I don’t really believe in superstitions, but that’s the one I have.

DW: I know you’ve traveled pretty much all over playing golf, what is the favorite place you have been?

SP: Hmm, I don’t know. Probably my mom’s home country, the Maldives (island in the Indian ocean). I mean it’s not big on golf at all, but all of my family is there and my mom is from there and stuff.

DW: What is your favorite movie?

SP: Titanic. I love it, ever since I first saw it, I just love it.

 

DW: Favorite food?

SP: Hmmm, probably Vietnamese food. I just like the exotic curries and stuff because I grew up eating that with my mom.

DW: Who is your favorite professional golfer?

SP: Annika (Sorenstam).

DW: If you were not golfing, you would be …

SP: I don’t know I never really thought about that. I probably would be doing some kind of other sport, like when I was younger, I did ballet and figure skating so maybe I would have stuck with that.

DW: What do you like most about Arizona or the U of A so far?

SP: I like the mountains because they remind me of home and the good weather.

DW: What are your goals for when you guys get back out on the course?

SP: Hopefully, we can all continue playing the way we are playing right now and win some more. I think just go in and contribute to the team and keep playing well for the spring season.

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