Only the Beginning

The team teed off the year by winning the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational in Lawrence, Kansas, and added a second-place finish filled with individual success at the Johnie Imes Invitational in Columbia, Missouri. 
The first-place finish in Lawrence was the first team victory for K-State in 10 years, while freshman Connie Jaffrey's individual win at the Johnie Imes Invitational marked the first time a Wildcat golfer captured an individual victory since 2007.
It's been a young season filled with excitement, yet, despite the fact the team is off to one of the best starts it's seen in the past decade, it isn't satisfied - it's only the beginning, head coach Kristi Knight explained.
"We're proud of them, but we're in no way satisfied," said Knight, who foresees continued success from her young, talented roster on the horizon. "I'm not surprised though. (Assistant coach) Stewart Burke and I, we both had a good feeling coming in to this year. I go back to what we addressed the team about in our initial meeting: our goal is to become Big 12 Champions."
The Wildcats, who return four players that competed in the 2014 Big 12 Championship while adding fresh, young talent in Jaffrey and Chandler Gallagher, are a dynamic group ready to continue success.
"At last year's Big 12 Championship, our team was right there with Oklahoma," explained Knight. "We decided that was a catalyst because we have four of those five players coming back this season. So we're not surprised. We're proud of them, but in no way are we content; I know the players aren't content."
With that, Jaffrey, who was sitting across the room from Knight, nodded her head.
A freshman from Killwinning, Scotland, Jaffrey is a long way from home. While adapting to the hectic lifestyle of a student-athlete, she is also adapting to a new culture. 
However, watching her play, you would never guess she was in her first season of collegiate golf in the United States.
With a score of 8-under par 208 at the Johnie Imes Invitational, Jaffrey earned her first collegiate victory. Going shot-for-shot with Missouri's Alina Rogers, the tournament came down to the final few holes. Rogers wound up bogeying her final two holes, which boosted Jaffrey ahead, but the freshman didn't know that at the time. 
On the final hole, Jaffrey just needed to make par to win it all - and that's exactly what she did.
"I was so happy. It was kind of a surprise, I knew I was top five, but I didn't know that I had won it," said Jaffrey, her smile going ear-to-ear. "I was jumping up and down when I found out, so yeah, I was pretty happy."
Only the 11th individual victory in program history, her score marked the second-lowest round all-time at K-State and put her only four shots away from breaking the school's individual record. Her effort on the course also earned her Big 12 Golfer of the Month honors - the first for the Wildcats since Christine Boucher in November 2002. (Click here to read more on Jaffrey's Golfer of the Month honors)
But, like Knight said earlier, her team isn't content. And despite her monumental win, Jaffrey isn't content either. 
"It gives me a lot of confidence that I posted that really good score, but it also gives me a goal as well to go and beat the record," Jaffrey explained. "You always have a target and you always have a goal. You're not just thinking about what you want to achieve, but you always have that goal to push you to achieve it."
Luckily for Jaffrey, as she works to achieve her goals, she has a team filled with golfers who have her back.
"I think the team gets along really well," said Jaffrey. "We're all very close knit, it does feel like a family. We're all behind each other and we're all supporting each other. We're all best friends here."
Best friends from around the world - well, that's how Knight explains it.
"It's been nice to watch," Knight said with a smile. "We've got girls from Scotland, Sweden, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, New Jersey and Canada. They all add something unique to the team." 
This year's K-State women's golf team is a unique group, and sprung from that uniqueness is a special bond surging the Wildcats to success this 2014-15 season. 
"They've done a good job supporting each other, and that's important," said Knight. "While they support each other, they also push and pull each other, and that's important too. There's a good mix of competition and support, and as coaches, that's what we want."
Next up on the schedule for the Wildcat women's golf team is the Ron Moore Women's Intercollegiate in Littleton, Colorado. Taking place at the Highlands Ranch Golf Course, the tournament tees off today and will run through Sunday afternoon. 
"It's only the beginning for this team," concluded Knight. "I think that's the main thing we want people to know. Coach Stew and I are both very proud of all these ladies. 
"This is only the beginning."
 

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