Matt Weir / Collegian File Photo
Coppin was named MVP of the ‘Dogs golf team and won the WAC Championships
Sacramento native Hali Coppin made a choice five years ago to pursue golf over her love for softball, and now she is looking to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.
“I had to decide where I wanted to go after [high school], and after my junior year, I quit softball and pursued golf and realized I wanted to go to college for that,” Coppin said.
Tied for second in the women’s golf individual’s at the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament, Coppin knew she had to focus to achieve the goal she had set out , beginning her freshman year.
“When I came to Fresno State I remember my first practice and I was so nervous because they were college golfers,” Coppin said. “I knew I had to look up to them and work a lot harder than I already had.”
Coppin trailed early carding an eight on a par-four hole, but fought back with four birdies to claim the 2010 WAC Championship. Over her four years, her goals were set out in front of her and she finally accomplished her final one in her last run on the course.
Although Coppin did not qualify for next week regionals she keeps her head high and looks to the future.
“I didn’t make it to regional’s but to end on a win is definitely fine with me.”
At the end of the season awards ceremony Coppin was named thde team’s MVP leading the ‘Dogs with an average score of 75 and a putting average of 30. She competed in every event this year achieving sixth place at the Fresno State Lexus Invitational and first place at the WAC Championship.
When did you start playing golf?
I first started playing golf when I was 8; my dad made me do it. But, I didn’t like it because I was the only girl and I had been playing softball since I was 6. So, I decided after the summer program that I was not going to do golf anymore. In high school, since softball was in the spring I wanted something to do in the fall. So, golf was there and I had done it before, so I might as well give it another shot.
Was it hard to decide which sport you wanted to pursue at the collegiate level?
Softball has always been the sport that I love the most. But I knew that I would go further in golf, and softball is a lot harder to get into in college. That and quitting softball right before my senior year. It was hard, but I knew that if I wanted to go to college for golf I had to quit softball.
What made you chose to play for Fresno State?
I can remember my dad telling me to fill a letter out for Fresno State and asking him, “Fresno?” I hadn’t heard that much about it but what I did hear wasn’t that good. I got a call from San Jose State, went and visited it and fell in love. I thought I was going to go there. Coach Angie [Cates-Moore] from Fresno called me a month later so I came to Fresno and loved it even more. I couldn’t believe it.
Were there any goals you looked to achieve in your four years in Bulldog uniform?
This last year I remembered I had set a couple goals for myself since I was a freshman. One of them was to shoot in the 60s, and I did that at our home tournament [Fresno State Lexus Invitational]. That was really cool. I was looking at it and I only had a couple tournaments left to do it, and I knew I really needed to get these goals done. Winning a college tournament was the other one, and to make it my last tournament was really cool.
How did it feel to win the WAC Championship?
It was fantastic. I hadn’t won a college tournament all my four years, and I accomplished a lot just in that last tournament.
What was going through your head in the last round at the WAC Tournament?
That day I was tied for second and I had never been in a situation like that. I had won a few golf tournaments in junior golf, but nothing big. So, I had to relax and calm my nerves and my teammates would keep my mind off golf the night before, and just make it as normal as possible. I just stuck to my routine before I played the third round.
How would you defend that golf is a lazy sport?
Walking in between holes you think about a lot, like ‘oh don’t shank this next one’ or ‘you’re doing good, so don’t mess it up.’ We walk quite a bit, we have 36-hole days, which is equivalent to walking between 8-10 miles. It’s non-stop sometimes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it is so tough mentally.
Any future goals as you close out your time at Fresno State?
At the end of this month I will try and qualify for the Women’s US Open. I have one more semester of school and then after that I am going to Australia for a couple of months. I have family there, and I will be volunteering with people who suffer from cerebral palsy. Then come back, and hopefully I will go into the Peace Corps. So, I have the next three years covered. After that I have no idea.