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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Accomplishing her fifth title and not done yet

It is silly to make comparisons — Jodi Ewart is the measurement of success.
“You have people that are mathematical geniuses,” said UNM women’s golf head coach Jill Trujillo. “You know, you have people that are business geniuses. She is a golf genius. She’s got it through her veins. That is just what she is.”
Ewart won her record-breaking fifth individual title in Seaside, Calif., on Saturday, helping to seal the Mountain West Conference Championships. But her list of accomplishments doesn’t end there.

Since she arrived at UNM, the senior from England has lived up to the lofty expectations. She has called UNM home for four years — on a team that won the MWC Championship three straight times.

Trujillo said the Lobos got lucky with Ewart.
“There is really no secret,” Trujillo said. “You just got to go out and recruit. Sometimes you get a really good player off the bat, and sometimes there is some molding and training.”

There is no question that Ewart falls into the former category. On a championship team, Ewart won the MWC individual title three out of the four years.
And the list goes on, even if she modestly ducks the genius title.

“I don’t really know how to take that,” Ewart said. “I think that when she says that — people say that golf is 90 percent mental and you have to really know how to handle yourself on the golf course. You have to have good course management ability. I would say that I am pretty good at managing my emotions on the golf course.”

Pretty good just doesn’t capture it. Golf World named Ewart player of the week. And she won the MWC Player of the Year four years running.
“I think some people just have that ability to do any sport,” Ewart said. “Anything with a ball, I was just really good. I played hockey, and I played tennis in high school. Everything just came natural to me.”

But none more than golf. She has been around the sport since she was 8. Soon after tasting victory for the first time, she knew she would be around golf a lot longer.

“I think the first time I ever played for England, when I was recognized, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m pretty good at this,’” Ewart said. “So I just kept on going and going. Then I started to win events. And I said, ‘This is what I want to do.’”
Even with a closet full of titles, she still burns with competitive desire.

“I think there comes a point when golf becomes too competitive, but you have to love the game in order to play it,” Ewart said. “I just love playing.”

That affection for the game has spawned a weighty list of goals. Though a large chunk has been crossed off in her college career, she lists goals she’s yet to accomplish.

“I want to be No. 1 on the LPGA tour,” Ewart said. “A lot of players that I know on the European tour, they just go to each event just wanting to make the cut. I don’t see it as any different from college. I step on the first tee in college events, and I want to win.”

She’s already made headway in the pro circuit. She qualified eighth for the futures tour, a developmental step towards the LPGA in December. She said she hopes to finish in the top 10 and qualify for the LPGA at the end of May — steps not inconceivable, judging by her dedication to the sport.

“Like I said, I love playing,” Ewart said. “It’s not like a grind. I love practicing. I could go out four hours straight and just hit balls. I just love doing that.”

But before any of that, Ewart and her team sit idle, waiting for an announcement for the regional tournament on Monday. Then, perhaps, a shot at nationals with Ewart is unquestionably leading the way.