May 3, 2017
Just being able to say I’m an SEC Champion is so incredible.Katelyn Dambaugh
“When I found out I had won, my stomach just dropped. I thought, ‘did that really just happen?’ I’ve been wanting to win this tournament for a long time.
Besides the Darius (Rucker Intercollegiate), this is the one tournament I wanted to win before I left. We’re in the SEC, and it’s the best conference in the world. (Athletics Director) Ray Tanner said it in a tweet that the SEC is the best of the best. It is, and being able to win that says a lot.
Setting records aren’t that important to me in a way because it’s just a record, and it’s going to be beaten. It’s really cool to have them, but just being able to say I’m an SEC Champion is so incredible.
I think I knew it was my day after No. 9. Maybe it was when I almost made a hole-in-one at No. 8. It was about 170 yards. I hit a six iron, and it lipped the hole on the par 3. I thought ‘OK, this might be my day.’ I tapped in for birdie there. Then on No. 9, I hit it within a foot, and I thought ‘We’ve really got something going here.’
After nine, I saw I was 4-under. I had to bring myself down. I told Coach (Kalen Anderson) that I was getting all antsy and jittery. That’s when she talked to me a little bit. Coach just kept telling me to have fun and not to worry about anything. She said ‘it’s just you and me out here. Just focus on that.’
To stay mentally focused is really difficult, especially if you’re playing really bad or really well. In my case, it’s hard to keep going and not worry about where you are, score-wise.
Playing in the LPGA event as an amateur a few weeks back helped me learn a lot about myself and where I’m going to be in the future. Being out there on that big stage made these stages seem not as huge. There weren’t all the TV cameras on every hole, and there weren’t big grandstands. So I’m a lot more relaxed now.
I do look ahead to my pro career a little bit. The only thing I’m nervous about is being out there by myself. I won’t have Coach or (associate head coach) Puggy (Blackmon) driving me to tournaments or getting our plane tickets. I’ll have to do all of that by myself.
As of right now, I’m trying not to focus on that. We have unfinished business here. That’s my main focus; this team.
I want to go out with a bang at the NCAA Tournament. This team is incredible and has so much talent. We could win regionals. We could win nationals. If we get into match play at nationals again, we have a chance to kick anyone’s butt. Really special things can happen with this team.”