April 13, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -- - Mariko Tumangan has not let her freshman standing get in the way being a mainstay in Stanford's lineup this season.
She tied for eighth in her first collegiate event the Washington State Cougar Cup in September and also earned a second top-10 finish at the Peg Barnard Invitational at Stanford Golf Course in February.
She also turned in an impressive showing at the Wildcat Invitational, where she tied for 12th in one of the strongest fields of the spring.
Her most impressive round came outside of competition, however, when she set the women's course record at Stanford Golf Course by firing a 63 in a practice round during the fall, bettering the old mark by two strokes.
No stranger in going low, Tumangan posted a course record 62 at the Rancho Canada East Course in Carmel as a junior at San Jose's Presentation High School during the Central Coast Section Girls Golf Championships.
A four-time West Catholic League medalist, Tumangan won the CCS individual championship on two occasions. She also participated in the 2010 U.S. Amateur and advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Junior Girl's Amateur.
Her big time game was not the only thing that caught the eye of Margot and Mitch Milias Director of Women's Golf Caroline O'Connor.
"Mariko is as tenacious as they come on the golf course," said O'Connor. "She is very easy-going and always has a smile on her face away from the course and is just a joy to be around. But she's a bulldog on the course."
Stanford has played a big part in her life since the day she was born and set the tone for her competitive, take-no-prisoners approach to her golf game.
Tumangan's fighting spirit took root at Stanford Hospital, where she battled for her life for weeks after being born premature.
"My whole life my Mom (Misako) has always told me that I was a fighter," said Tumangan. "I think that whole experience made be competitive and determined by nature.
"I really don't try to `turn up the heat' - it just happens naturally."
"There's something hard-wired in her brain," said O'Connor. "She is as determined as they come and has the potential to be as good as any player who has come through our program."
In this edition of Teeing it Up, Mariko talks about her introduction to golf, her transition to Stanford and some of her interests off the course.
My home course is Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose. I live about 5 minutes away from the course.
Favorite course you have played?
Just recently, I was able to play Cypress Point with my Stanford teammates, Ms. Condoleezza Rice, and Ms. Mary Meeker.
I like all the courses in the Pebble Beach area.
Course you would most like to play?
I would like to play either the Bethpage Black Course or various courses in Hawaii.
Your dream golf getaway package?
My dream golf getaway package would have to be somewhere out of the country. Maybe somewhere in Asia or Europe. I would really like it to be along the water.
My favorite golfer without a doubt is Tiger Woods.
One swing thought you always try to remember?
In tournaments, I rarely think of anything specific. However, I think maintaining certain feelings are important. Tempo is key.
Favorite major championship to watch?
I only really like watching the Sunday of every major championship.
Earliest memories of playing golf?
I remember following my brother around at Santa Teresa par-3 golf course and hitting shots whenever I could.
Most memorable shot?
My hole-in-one at the Country Club of North Carolina during the Girl's Junior Amateur. It was an island green, around 120 yards, and I struck a perfect pitching wedge. It hit about three feet behind the hole and spun back perfectly into the cup.
How do you mark your ball?
During my whole life, I have never changed the marking on my ball. It is always the marked dimple on the left bottom side of the number.
Myself, Tiger Woods, Lorena Ochoa, and Michael Jordan.
One thing you are always working on to improve as a player?
My ball striking is the strongest part of my game, so I am constantly working on my short game to improve my golf game overall.
Favorite practice drill?
I just really have the most fun when I am playing on the golf course. Dropping balls in random places and hitting shots from everywhere.
Do you have any golf superstitions?
I do not have any superstitions, except for bad luck seeing black cats.
Who are your role models?
My parents and Tiger Woods.
You equaled the women's course record with a 63 in a practice round at Stanford Golf Course in September. What was working for you that day? Tell us a little bit about the round.
It's funny because I did not really have a good warm-up before that round. My body was a little sore from workouts, but my mindset was relaxed. It almost felt like a normal round. On every hole, I gave myself a birdie look, but the thing that really made my score were the putts that were dropping.
What has the adjustment been like for you to collegiate golf?
The fall was rough just because I was getting used to all the different aspects of college. It was really different and almost hard to manage because of the many time constraints. However, I've gotten used to it now and I'm ready to play to the best of my ability.
I have not been able to take any classes that I really like yet during the course of my freshman year. I am interested in sports medicine (kinesiology) and learning how the body works and broadcast journalism.
Favorite spot on campus?
The Siebel practice facility. I also like driving down Palm Drive and seeing MemChu (Memorial Church).
What's on your IPod?
All types of music. I really like House/Dubstep and Hip-Hop and R-n-B.
Who is the last player on the team you would want to get into a putting contest with?
Short game competitions, Syd (Sydney Burlison) would probably be hard to beat.
Longest driver on the team?
Me. Marissa (Mar) would fight that though.
Favorite Caroline O'Connor saying?
The round is a marathon. Be patient.
What are some of your interests besides golf?
I am pretty easy-going of the golf course. I like the hang out with my friends and family. I love to travel and play all different kinds of sports.
Toughest hole at Stanford Golf Course?
Number 6 with a back right blue pin. A good center drive is key.
Your perfect meal?
Steak, mashed potatoes, and corn. Or a good Japanese meal.
White Chicks, Mean Girls, and the Hangover.
Any hidden talents?
I used to compete internationally in Abacus competitions. I can calculate arithmetic problems in my head faster than a calculator.