Every Division-I college coach hopes their recruits will meet the high expectations they have for their players’ performances, hoping it will translate into the betterment of their program.
It’s no different for Michigan coach Cheryl Stacy, who has been impressed with the quick improvement of freshman Yugene Lee — an Athens, Ga. native, who joined the Michigan women’s golf team this fall.
In the first few tournaments of the fall semester, Lee was not a scoring golfer for Michigan. Now, Lee has found her place among the team, becoming one of the top-placing golfers on the team.
“I had high expectations for all three incoming freshmen this year,” Stacy said. “At the beginning, the college transition was tough for Yugene, coming in and being a freshman and getting used to college life is always tough, but she has really come along and gotten a lot stronger.”
In less than a year in Ann Arbor, Lee has already proved herself on the course. She made a slower transition to college golf, building skill and confidence in the fall season.
Unlike junior golf, coaches can play a bigger role during matches and tournaments in the games of their players. Lee has benefited from increased involvement of the Michigan coaches during practice and tournaments.
“It’s different because the coaches can walk with me (on the fairway) and talk to me about my shots. In junior golf, they couldn’t do that,” Lee said.
Lee has come out strong in the last few tournaments — most notably at the John Kirk/Panther Intercollegiate on March 16, where she shot an average of four strokes a hole, and finished 14th overall.
The next week, while at the Rebel Intercollegiate tournament in Oxford, Miss., Lee shot a 75, helping the Wolverines finish seventh in their last regular season tournament.
Much of Lee’s recent growth came from preparations in the offseason, where she spent hours in the weight room and in one-on-one sessions with Stacy practicing and altering her swing form.
“It wasn’t until the spring that I noticed a difference in my distance and in my game,” Lee said. “I worked a lot in the offseason on my strength and worked with Coach Stacy on my swing.”
The women’s golf program is still growing and working to shape itself. Michigan has never won a Big Ten Championship title, but that hardly discourages Lee. Big Tens are only a few weeks away — on April 26 in Glencoe, Ill. — where Michigan will attempt to beat out defending champion, Purdue, for its first title ever.
“I think that winning Big Tens is very possible (in the next four years). It’s possible even this year,” Lee said.