A Tar Heel in Spain

O'Connell golfs on world stage

Staff WriterJune 10, 2010 

Catherine O'Donnell, a junior at North Carolina, is one of five college athletes playing for the women's U.S. team at the World University Golf Championships in Malaga, Spain, this week.

The tournament, with an individual and team stroke-play format, is being played Tuesday through Friday at Antequera Golf Course, a par-72, 6,562-yard layout.

After shooting a second-round 70 on Wednesday, the best of the tournament, O'Connell was in second place in the individual standings at 145, one shot behind Morgane Bazin de Jessey of France (71-73-144).

France led team play at 296, and Taipei was second at 303. The U.S. and Spain shared third at 306. Follow the event at www.wucgolf2010.com.

The U.S. team includes students from Louisville, Michigan, Furman and Michigan State. Former Iowa coach Diane Thomason has coached Team USA for the past 12 years.

The U.S. team won the women's gold medal in South Africa in 2008 during the last tournament, beating out 12 other countries; the U.S. men finished fifth of 14.

"Catherine is first and foremost a great competitor who's always anxious to learn and to get better at the game," Tar Heels coach Jan Mann said.

Reached by e-mail, O'Donnell said she is excited to have been chosen to the U.S. team.

Q: What made you decide to start playing golf?

A: My dad was really the one who started me playing. ... He wanted me to try it out so I did.

Q: How has Coach Mann helped you get to where you're at? How have your parents helped you?

A: Coach Mann has been great! She knows such a great deal about the game of golf and really has so much insight to offer. She is such a supportive coach, and that really helps me, along with my teammates. My parents are my No. 1 fans and support me in everything I do. I couldn't ask for anything more from them. I have them to thank for where I am today.

Q: Describe the feelings that go through your mind when you're out on the course.

A: As I'm on the course, only a few things are on my mind. I want to hit great shots and make putts. I try not to think about end results when I am out there because they only distract me. I really try to think one shot at a time and stay in the moment.

Q: How do you feel about being chosen to be on the team (for this tournament)?

A: Being chosen for this team is a great honor. I was so happy when I was invited to be on the team. I have never been to Spain and am looking forward to every minute of it.

Q: How do you hope to do - both individually and as a team - in this tournament?

A: In Spain, I want to win! Both individually and as a team. That's why I am going because I want to win. I love competition.

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