Courtesy: Athletic Communications
After a brief visit to her native South Africa, Kelli Shean returned to the states winning the U.S. Amateur qualifier in Frisco, Texas, with a single-round 72 in the summer of 2009. The win earned Shean entry to the U.S. Women’s Amateur where she advanced to match play.
Shean returned to South Africa for the summer of 2008 playing and practicing. She competed in the Gauteng Ladies North at Frene Golf Club in Pretoria, South Africa, where she carded a 76-75 to finish in sixth place.
Shean has flown under the radar for much of her amateur career – until the 2010 summer that is. She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont and stunned the field in the first round. She played her first round counting a one-under 70 and held the Open lead when she came off the course. She finished the day tied for second overall and emerged as the media darling on the first day. Although her scores wouldn’t remain that low (70-79-83-80), she cited the experience as one of the best of her young life. She finished tied for 65th overall and was one of two players (Stacy Lewis) with Razorback ties to make the cut.
As A Senior (2010-11)
Kelli Shean put the finishing touches on a great career at Arkansas in May playing to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship in Bryan, Texas. It was a whirlwind week for Sheen who graduated before leaving to play, played in the National Championship guiding her team to a program-best tie for fifth overall, and followed with her wedding just a few weeks later.
Shean's senior campaign was a good one with six top 10 finishes including three runner-up showings. She earned her second consecutive All-Southeastern Conference selection (second-team) and her second consecutive All-America honor thanks to her spectacular run at the NCAA Championship. In addition to the NCAA Championships, she was second in the first event of the year at the Susie Maxwell Berning Classic and tied for second at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown. Her 201 (70-67-73) in Vegas tied her second-lowest collegiate round while her second round 67 tied her best round as a Razorback.
As Shean's collegiate career closed, she ranked second for career rounds played with 134.0, scoring average at 74.40 and was third for finish percentage with a 74.1% and for counting scores with 91.8%.
As A Junior (2009-10)
Shean emerged as a leader on and off the course in 2009-10. She was Arkansas’ low finisher in nine of 11 tournaments and led the team with a career-low 73.27 stroke average. Shean’s season opened with a solid 221 at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational and bettered that with her first collegiate win the following week at the Marilyn Smith Sunflower Invitational.
Shean carded a career-low 209 with rounds of 74-667 for a seven-under score. It was the first of six top 10, five top five, finishes for Shean.
Shean earned her first Southeastern Conference honor with selection to the SEC First-Team after a career-best fourth-place showing at the league championship. She posted a three-round 210 with a 69-71-70 on her scorecard. Shean also had third-place finishes at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown and the Central District Invitational and was fifth at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. For Shean's efforts, she earned National Golf Coaches Association All-America honors.
As A Sophomore (2008-09)
Shean improved her stroke average dropping it to a career-low 74.79 as a sophomore. She played in every event for the second consecutive year matching her career low with a 71 in two events. She scored a 216 for a career best at the Mercedes Benz Collegiate tying for eighth place, also a career best.
As A Freshman (2007-08)
Shean stepped into the Arkansas lineup from the first tournament and never looked back. She qualified for all 12 events in her first season posting a 76.22 stroke average as a true freshman. Shean’s season was solid and she earned selection to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team. Shean tallied a three-over 219 at the UCF Invitational for her season/career best. Arkansas counted 33 of Shean’s 36 rounds for 92 percent. Her second round average was her best with a 75.17 mark.
Prior to Arkansas
Shean’s experience and accolades are many and varied. Some of her highlights include a seventh-place finish at the World Team Amateur Championship and the number two ranking in all of South Africa.
Shean has made the cut in four professional events on the Ned Bank Women’s Tour, where she posted seventh place and 13th place finishes. In addition, she toured the country as one of six women on the South African squad. Shean captured the 2006 Gauteng Match Play title, defeating a pair of golfers ranked ahead of her in the country’s national standings.
In 2005, Shean won the Ernie Els Junior Tour Order of Merit, an award based on year-long accomplishments, and represented South Africa winning two silver medals at The Spirit International event, competing against former Razorback Amanda McCurdy in Texas. Shean also won the South African Amateur Match Play title and was the Amateur Stroke Play runner-up that year.
Shean played at Westlake Golf Club where she has a plus-three handicap. Her career best round of 66 came at the King David Golf Club in 2004, and she has posted several career rounds in the 60s.
Born Sept. 10, 1987, Shean is the youngest of four children to Stephen and Dianne Shean of Cape Town, South Africa. She has an older sister, Desray, and older brothers Gary and Trevor. She graduated with a degree in management in May 2011.
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