Glenwood grad tees off at Harding |

Glenwood grad tees off at Harding

For 15 years, golf wasn’t a part of Emily Hauptli’s life.First picking up clubs during February of her sophomore year at Glenwood Springs High School, Hauptli joined the Demons golf squad.Now, only four years later, Hauptli has swung her way onto the Harding University girls golf team.She continued to play for Glenwood through the spring of 2006, working her way up to become one of the team’s best players and even earning a spot at the state golf tournament. After graduating, she decided to attend Harding University, a 5,000-student, private Christian school in Searcy, Ark., 50 miles northeast of Little Rock.

With golf pushed aside for most of her summer, and after arriving at Harding in September, it resurfaced in Hauptli’s life in a rather unusual way.”My friend wanted to go the open tryouts (for the girls golf team at Harding) and she didn’t want to go alone, so I went with her,” Hauptli said. “I just thought it was a chance to hit free golf balls.”While she whacked away at golf balls on the driving range and set out on the links, her performance caught the eye of Harding golf head coach Andrew Baker.”It was her natural ability,” Baker said. “We had a lot of people at walk-on tryouts, but she had the most natural ability. I had known about her playing in high school and heard she was coming to Harding and knew she might be a possibility.”At the end of the first day of the tryout, Baker offered Hauptli a spot on the team. Hauptli, a four-year basketball player at Glenwood, never imagined that a sport see picked up almost halfway through high school would now be granting her student-athlete status at a university. After pondering for a few days whether she wanted to play on the team or not, she accepted the spot.

Like Deb Henderson, Hauptli’s basketball coach at GSHS, and Kathy Whiting, her golf coach, Baker soon found out that Hauptli’s pleasant, optimistic and determined attitude, made her a desirable selection for the team.”I loved her attitude,” Baker said. “If we can get her golf game to match her attitude, she’ll be great.”The Glenwood grad played in two tournaments this fall for the NCAA Division II Bison golf team, traveling to courses in Florida on Sept. 27 and then Oklahoma on Oct. 2. Teeing off in her first collegiate tournament, Hauptli shot a 215 to finish fifth on her team and 64th out of 69 in the tournament and admitted to being a little nervous.”The first one was pretty nerve racking,” she said. “I wasn’t playing the best, but it was just fun to be out there playing.”

In the second tournament, Hauptli lowered her score by nine strokes, hitting a 204, finishing fourth out of five Bison players and taking 71st in the tournament fielding more than 100 players.The fall season is now over, but Hauptli remains on the team, participating in off-season workouts and hitting the Arkansas links without worries of the snow that shuts down courses in Colorado. The team will tee off in its first tournament of the 2007 season in February and Baker is looking forward to seeing Hauptli’s progress.”I think she could be a real asset to this team – mostly because of her attitude,” he said. “I’m excited to see her improve over the offseason.”Enjoying the company of her teammates, the thrill of competing at the collegiate level and valuing her education, Hauplti said that even Arkansas is growing on her. “I like it,” she said. “It’s not Colorado, but I like it.”

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