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  • Writer's pictureRonan Kleu

Fall 2021

Fall 2021 was very eventful as I attended the University of Iowa for my first semester and was exposed to a very new environment. The transition included the adaption to stronger fields on the golf course and more a competitive environment in the classroom, both offering stimuli I was seeking in First Division of NCAA. I was also surprised by the sheer size of the college sports franchise and therefore also the support for athletics. Only a few days after arriving in Iowa directly from the Omega European Masters, I participated in my first D1 event at the 2017 US Open venue, Erin Hills. Despite not driving the ball as I wanted to, I managed the course well and putted great in the first round to sign for a bogey-free debut 67. The second day was full of up and downs, before I managed to manufacture a good finish with a great drive, a 3-iron to the middle of the par 5 18th hole and a putt for eagle to secure a 2-under 70. Day 3 presented itself with some higher winds to start off the day, contributing to my 3-over through 5 holes start. After a delay due to inclement weather, I set out with a new goal for the round and found some better form, highlighting the turn-around by an eagle on the par 5 15th. On the 18th tee I was then 3-under for the day, 10-under for the tournament and well up the leaderboard. My final hole went pear-shaped as a succession of bad decisions led to a double-bogey on the hole I had eagled the day before. It was frustrating that one hole had cost me a top 5 finish, however I was still very happy with a 6th place in a strong field and my first appearance as a Hawkeye!

I unfortunately had to miss the second event on our fall calendar due to an illness. I was back in full health for our third event at the Warren Golf Course in Indiana hosted by Notre Dame University. I was happy with how I navigated the course strategically, however I could never really get the momentum going on the first two rounds of 70, 69. In my final round, I started quickly on the first nine and was tied for the lead through 9 holes. My back nine was filled with fewer birdies, leading to a solid final round 67. I was happy with consecutive top 10-s in my first two D1 starts, and as my coach said: "You gave yourself two chances to win the tournaments on the back nine, keep creating those opportunities and eventually you'll get the win." After those two events I was ranked 18th in the USA in Division 1.

My last two events of the year went less according to plan as I posted scores of 75, 77, and 74 at the Williams Cup. It was a great event to take part in at Eagle Point Golf Club, despite me suffering from unexpected allergies during the tournament. That, however, is no excuse, as my golf was quite frankly just not good enough that week. My final event of the season took place at the Spirit International Amateur Championship at the demanding Whispering Pines Golf Club in Texas. It was a team event modelled to be the Olympics of Amateur Golf with each country sending a team with two male and two female representatives. Team Switzerland consisted of Caroline Sturdza, Chiara Tamburlini, Loic Ettlin and myself. During our first practice round, which was also a sponsor's outing, we played well and managed to win out of the 20 participating teams. During the actual competition, I started horribly on the first nine on the first two days and let that get in the way of my confidence and performance. Chiara and Caroline played phenomenally though, picking up the silver medal for Switzerland in the ladies' category. The unique part about this trip was that the players all ate together, participated in evening activities together and even shared a basic room and bathrooms with 7 other guys from around the globe. The cabins we stayed in were in the woods with no internet connection, therefore forcing you to socialise with the foreign players around you, an aspect that shocked me at first, but afterwards I found quite refreshing. Despite the result, I met a lot of new people, made memories and learnt a lot of valuable lessons that week!

Upon analysis of my stats and the goals I had set for 2021, I saw that I had achieved a substantial amount, however there is still room for improvement in some categories. Specifically, I am working on and would like to improve on my driving, approaches from 30-70m and putting from 4-18ft. I look forward to putting in the work on and off the golf course and a progressive 2022.

I would also like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2022!

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