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U. Arizona, Tucson, AZ, Sep 23, 2009 (Arizona Daily Wildcat/UWire via COMTEX) -- UA freshman Trent Redfern has a very bright future as a Wildcat golfer, but like most freshman collegiate athletes, success won't come easily.
The Austin, Texas native was a standout on the course and in the classroom in high school. Redfern won a Texas Golf State Championship his senior year while competing in junior tournaments such as the Future Masters and Junior World.
In addition to his golf prowess, the 18-year-old earned all-district and all-regional academic honors at Westlake High School. But after finishing 75th (15-over par) earlier this month in his debut with the Wildcats, Redfern quickly realized the transition to collegiate golf would be quite a challenge.
"It was really a wake-up call more than anything else," Redfern said of the tournament. "The level of play is a big jump from high school or junior golf."
It's not that college golfers are much more talented than Redfern, but the mental toughness is much more demanding in an NCAA setting.
Junior All-American golfer Tarquin MacManus said he also faced those challenges in his first few tournaments in the college ranks. Whether it is the tougher courses or the challenge of competing as a team rather than an individual, the transition to college golf doesn't come without a few setbacks.
"There's certain things you have to learn to deal with, but once you get them, college golf is the best thing there is, and he should be able to get that very soon," MacManus said.
Redfern is expected to adjust to the college game soon, and second-year assistant coach Andy Barnes believes that thinking less and playing more is the way to do that.
"Trent is a very smart kid, which in many respects helps him a lot in this game and hurts him a lot in this game," Barnes said. "You kind of have to be dumb, in the sense where you feel like you can pull out every shot and make every putt."
Golf is most certainly a smart man's game, but is it fair to say that Redfern is too smart for his own good?
Barnes explained that young players often think too much. During rough stretches they panic, and after a few good shots they begin to play timid.
Barnes points to MacManus as an example of the opposite of thinking too much.
MacManus is a fiery competitor on the course, showing his emotions regularly. That passion allows his skills to do the talking rather than his brain.
"Trent thinks very well on the course, but he can get timid instead of staying on the accelerator," Barnes said. "But I think that's the way it is with almost every young college kid." There lies the silver lining. Redfern is still a young college kid. As Barnes said, it is nearly impossible to expect a kid to come in with nerves of steel right away.
Yes, his Wildcat debut was subpar, but competing as a starter in the team's first event -- his first collegiate tournament -- is no easy feat. Expectations are high, and nerves are even higher.
Redfern certainly has the skills to be a very good golfer, and once he becomes comfortable and confident at the collegiate level, he has the chance to flourish.
"I'd expect him to be hoping for a lot out of this year," MacManus said. "I think he should be able to buckle down and get over that barrier very soon, and he should be good."
Copyright (C) 2009 Arizona Daily Wildcat via UWire
"Freshman forced to make quick adjustment for Arizona golf." U-Wire 23 Sept. 2009. Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Collection. Web. 28 Dec. 2009.
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