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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Inside the Game with Beverly Vatananugulkit

At the close of the fall season, the UC Davis women’s golf team had its ups and downs, finishing first in the Hoosier Fall Invitational on Oct. 20, before stumbling to a 12th place finish in the Stanford Intercollegiate on Oct. 27.

The No. 38 Aggies have been led by the strong play of Beverly Vatananugulkit, a junior English major out of Cerritos, Calif. Vatananugulkit was named the Big West Freshman of the Year two seasons ago and has earned All-Big West First Team honors twice.

Vatananugulkit found time in her busy schedule recently to sit down with Aggie Sports Writer Ryan Reed to talk about how she got into golf, her greatest accomplishments and what motivates her.

Okay, lets start from the beginning. How and when did you get into golf?
Vatananugulkit: So I swam as a kid, but my dad wanted me to get into golf. I tried it at age seven and started competing around eight, and that was when I won my first tournament so I was really stoked about that. From then on, I have just continued to play golf.

In high school you were a four-time All-Suburban league player and basically dominant. How was the transition to playing at the collegiate level against stiffer competition?
It was a difficult transition because you come from being a top dog to like “Oh wow, there is a lot of good players out there that you aren’t competing against” in my area. So that was kind of different for me. But, I remember my freshman year we won our first tournament, so I thought “Oh, maybe this is the same,” but then we went to other much tougher fields and I was like “there is a lot more work to put into it.”

And why did you choose UC Davis?
I came here mostly for coach Walker, our previous coach — she really convinced me to come here. Also the education. We are like a top-10 public school, right? So I thought that was a really good balance.

So even though you said it was tough, you were Big West Freshman of the Year and have been All-Big West First Team for two years. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment so far at Davis?
I think I definitely have improved in golf quite a bit. My mental practices during tournaments are so different from how I was as a junior golfer so that is really eye opening for me. I definitely think that is one of my greatest accomplishments, getting one step closer to being a great golfer.

So you guys won last weekend (Oct. 20), how would you describe the season thus far?
Individually, I played really well two weeks ago [Oct. 13] and I wanted to bring that back to last week, but it didn’t really carry over. If I can get myself back to that mental state and practice plan from before Washington, that would be great. The season started off pretty bumpy, but we are getting back into it. All of the players are working really hard and I am really proud of them.

What would you say is your best memory from your time at UC Davis?
I like to think back to when I won Big West. On the last hole, I hit my shot off of the fairway and I think it lipped out of the hole so I almost got an eagle. I was so nervous walking up to the green, because I was thinking “oh no, now I have to make that putt now. Why couldn’t it just go in?” That was really exciting for me.

What do you want to do after Davis?
That actually comes a lot with what I get out of golf for the next year or so, to see if I want to turn pro or not.

Any athletic role models?
Well, ever since I was younger it was always Tiger Woods, but now I don’t know about that one. But, Annika Sorenstam is definitely a great player and she retired at her peak, so that would be awesome if I could follow in her footsteps.

Okay, any non-athletic role models then?
I have always had my dad as my role model. Ever since he passed away, I have kind of kept [him] in my mind as my drive, to motivate.


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