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Playing My Heart Out

WRITTEN BY Alana Uriell
WRITTEN BY Alana Uriell

When I was being recruited I noticed that there were so many great things about the University of Arkansas and its golf program. When I learned about the Northwest Arkansas Championship it was icing on the cake!

As I was weighing my college decision, I said to myself ‘The facilities are great and Shauna (Estes-Taylor) and Mike (Adams) are amazing teachers.’ The support we have from the community and all of the other people around us is amazing. Then add this event to all of that knowing there was a possibility to live your dream – heck yeah! I’m like ‘I want to go there’ – it was a no-brainer for me.

I have an idea of what the tournament is like after playing in it last season. I know what it is like to have so many people out there cheering for you. It’s crazy for me. It’s so awesome and now I have had that experience of interaction with the reporters and the people who were there, the fans, just a basic layout of what I’m getting myself into. I feel like that is so important for the rest of my life. I’ve learned so many good skills by talking to other people. Just being able to get that experience overall is very important to me.

Alana

Last year, I was one of the two players who had to go through the qualifying process to be able to get into the tournament and I made it! But this year my goal became getting the number one spot so I would get an exemption. I’ve been working toward that all year and it feels great to be able to reach that goal.

Alana

I definitely was more stressed last year because it was my first time in any event like this and then also I had to play in the Monday qualifier. It was imperative to get into the tournament so I had to play well. I still feel stressed for this tournament this year. I’m playing alongside players like Stacy Lewis and it’s going to be crazy. I’m so excited but I’m also shaking in my boots.

I still play last year’s tournament back on my home television. Just seeing myself and seeing everyone’s reaction. Just the energy of walking up to the 17th green with the fans ‘Calling the Hogs’ – it’s ingrained in my mind. I hope that the same energy comes this year and I hope that it’s legendary again. To see it on TV and have people call me up and be like ‘Oh my gosh, they’re doing the Hog Call on TV’ and ‘I see you on TV’ and I’m like ‘I know isn’t it weird?’ I have friends who will Snapchat it and then they put it on their story or they’ll send it to me and then be like ‘my friend is playing in an LPGA event’ and I’m like ‘yeah that’s me’. Pretty cool right? It’s just crazy how it gets around.

Alana

Since I’ve been at Arkansas, I’ve gained strength in all areas of my game. I don’t even know where to start? Mentally, my game is better. I realized how much that plays into my success and so I’ve worked a lot with Shauna and the resources she’s given us to really develop what works best for me and how I can play my best golf. That’s been just phenomenal for me.

I’ve developed so much on and off the course and I’m still learning. It’s been a huge learning curve. And then mechanics-wise putting his been huge and chipping has been huge – the overall short game. The facilities here are so supportive of that and having the regimen of the Shauna gives us has been so helpful for me to grow in the past few years.

I feel like it is such an honor to be able to represent the Razorbacks in an event like this. Not everyone gets this opportunity. It’s one of a kind and only for Razorback athletes. It’s crazy that I get to achieve my dream of playing alongside these great players and I’m so thankful that I have all these people around me, giving me this opportunity. It’s crazy. I just want to thank everyone who had a hand in me reaching this goal. It is so great!

Alana

I hope that I represent the University of Arkansas really well in this tournament. I hope that everyone sees that the Razorback players are playing so well and able to hold their own against the best players in the world. I’m going to be smiling out there and I just hope that I can represent them well enough to make everyone proud. I want them to say this girl who loves the community and loves the university is going out there playing her heart out. It’s just golf and it’s just a game and playing well is my way of thanking the community and the University for giving me this opportunity. That’s huge to me.

I just want everyone to know that I’m so thankful for this opportunity. I know no one else gets this and I really want to make the most of it. It’s so awesome to be able to be alongside Stacy Lewis who I have looked up to since I was like eight years old. And Gaby (Lopez) who I was actually friends with on my team here to have the support of the community and Shauna and Mike and my team. It means a lot to me and I hope everyone knows that.

Go Hogs!

Alana