Sept. 12, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Lady Vol senior golfers Ginny Brown and Diana Cantú have high expectations for their final seasons on Rocky Top. The pair is expected to be leaders of an experienced and talented UT squad ranked No. 18 in the country in the preseason Golf World/NGCA Coaches' Poll. Each sat down before practice at the UT golf range to share their thoughts on the upcoming season.
You ended the season very well last year by tying for sixth at the SEC Championships and tying for 16th at the NCAA Championships. How will you build on that this season and what are your goals for the team?
"I think last year was a really great year for me -- especially at the end -- and I got a lot of confidence from that. I want to be near the top of the leaderboard every single week and I think I can do that. This is a team that has an amazing talent base, and I'm really excited to see what some of the new girls and the girls coming back are going to achieve. I think we have a really good chance to win every tournament we play in."
What are your thoughts on Yeamans Hall Golf Club (the site of the Cougar Classic)?
"I like it. I haven't played well on it yet, but I really like it. I think it's going to be a good challenge. We've been trying to practice shots and situations that we think we're going to find out there."
What is your favorite club and why?
"My putter. It has changed so much and I finally stuck with one that I liked for a while and it has really worked out. It's really different I have an unconventional belly putter and an unconventional claw grip. It was something that I didn't want to try at all when my instructor first suggested it, but I ended up loving it and it changed my whole game and really helped me out. I have a lot of confidence in it, and I like how it's unique to me."
Can you talk about the balance between athletics and school for student-athletes?
"It's definitely a hard balance, but I've been doing it for four years so I'm used to it now. You learn how to mentally prepare yourself for it in advance so you aren't too stressed out. It can be difficult when you miss a class and have to make up the work, but you just have to manage your time and not allow yourself to get too far behind."
How did you start playing golf?
"My whole family played. It was kind of like our family activity with my mom, dad, brother and sister. We all would play together. Eventually it led into us playing in tournaments and we started to realize we could play in college. So it grew from there."
What are some of your goals and the team's for your final season?
"For the fall, I have a goal of a scoring average of 74 or better, and I want to start getting myself into the running for All-SEC and All-America teams. This is my last year and my last chance, so I'm going to give it my all it my all. As a team, we have a goal of winning every tournament we play. We want to get our mindset into that for every tournament. We have a really good team this year, and I think we can contend for the national championship."
The Lady Vols finished a disappointing 15th at the 2008 Cougar Classic. What did you take from last year's season-opening tournament?
"Last year, the season opener was a disappointment. It was a tough fall for us. We didn't expect to perform the way we did. It was also an eye-opening experience where we realized we needed to work harder and get ready for the postseason."
You are known as one of the best putters on the team. How did that become a strength of your game?
"Putting is definitely a major strength of mine. I'm not a big girl and I'm not the strongest, so putting is what has to be better for me in order to keep up with everyone else. Ever since I was little, I've been a good putter."
You're from Moneterrey, Mexico. What did you expect when you first moved to the United States?
"It's very different here. I was very scared of speaking because I thought my English wasn't very good and I was afraid of making mistakes. I'm from Mexico and had traveled to the U.S. a lot, so I was kind of used to a lot of stuff but it's very different from going on vacation to actually living here. I miss the food, my family and being able to speak my language."