Golfer Stephanie Hsieh '15 won first place overall and led the women's golf team to a second-place finish last week at the Spider Invitational, held at the University of Richmond. Hsieh earned medalist honors after birdieing her first shot of a playoff round to secure the lowest score of the tournament, a one-under-par 215. For leading the team as a first-year, The Herald has named Hsieh Athlete of the Week.
The Herald: When did you start playing golf?
Hsieh: I started playing when I was eight or nine years old. My dad was a big golfer, so he would take me out to the course with him. One of my best friends from elementary school was a golfer, too. I started playing for fun, but I got more and more competitive in high school, getting ready to see if I could play college golf.
Did you always know you wanted to play at the collegiate level?
Yes, I have. I definitely always put academics first, but I really wanted to go to an Ivy League to play golf. It's the perfect balance of academics and athletics.
What are some of your interests and hobbies besides golf?
I played the violin for eight years, and I played in my high school orchestra, although I haven't played since I've been in college. Basically, my time is made up of studying, hanging out with friends and playing golf. As a concentration, I'm choosing between economics and psychology, or something along those lines.
What are your goals both on and off the golf course for this year?
I definitely want to win more tournaments individually, and also I want to see Brown win the Ivy League championship one of the four years that I'm on the team.
What is it like playing in college? How is it different from high school golf so far?
Playing at Brown is not as different as I thought it would be. Individually, playing here is similar to the competitive high school tournaments I played in. The biggest difference is that now, the sport is much more team-oriented.
What do you gain from playing at the collegiate level? Do you think you will continue to play golf after your time at Brown?
I am hoping to build a sense of teamwork and leadership and hopefully make some connections along the way. You meet a lot of cool people from being a college athlete and especially from being a golfer. There are a lot of interesting adults on the course. You also build a lot of life skills with golf because it is such a mental game. You need to keep positive and keep going and going, so I hope these skills will help me for the future as well.
As a freshman still getting accustomed to college life, how has the transition been so far?
College so far has been pretty much what I expected it would be. The only thing that I didn't anticipate is the amount of reading and studying that I have. Golf-wise, the hours and workouts are what I expected. But overall, it is manageable, and I can say that I am definitely accustomed to college by now. I'm not ready for the Providence weather. In California, I never went longer than a week or two without playing golf. But luckily, it hasn't been very cold for our tournaments so far.
How did you feel winning first place at the Spider Invitational as a first-year? What was going through your mind when you won?
The three rounds of play were really intense. I was able to keep my mind in the present with the help of my coach and my teammates. After the third round, I found myself in a playoff with a girl on the Richmond team. My teammates gave me pep talks to calm me down. I basically just tried to relax and focus on the next shot. I made a birdie on the first hole to win.