NIU women’s golf: Lena Gautier levels up

Patrick Smith

Sophomore Lena Gautier was a star in golf even before she came to NIU.

Gautier is from La Celle Saint Cloud, France, and attended Creteil High School. In high school she was the three-time champion of the France Individual (2008, 2010 and 2012), the Doral Publix Class Girls champion and two-time winner of the 2012 French National Women’s Club Under-17 Team Championship.

Even though Gautier was a dominant golfer in France she decided to move to the United States. She came to NIU in January 2014 to further her playing career with the Huskies and earn a degree.

“I did my official visit here and I really enjoyed the place,” Gautier said. “I really enjoyed the people and everything here.”

Gautier had to adjust to NIU and an American lifestyle on the fly. She learned that sports and overall living are different from home because of America’s sports culture.

“People here are really supporting their teams,” Gautier said. “All the different high school sports, people wearing their team’s jerseys. Sports are talked about all the time” in the United States.

Gautier picked up in the United States right where she left off in France. She placed in the top 10 of six tournaments twice with her highest being in sixth place during her freshman season.

Gautier continues to be a steady and consistent player on the team as well as in the MAC. She posted consecutive top 20 finishes and continues to lead the Huskies in almost every major golf statistic.

Gautier continues to improve as she is posting better numbers in her sophomore campaign. This season she has played in more tournaments, has played more rounds, has lowered her strokes per event, posted a career-low 71 in the season opener and was named co-champion in the Diane Thomason Invitational on Oct. 4-5 in Iowa City, Iowa.

“Lena is a fantastic golfer,” said junior Connie Ellett. “She is consistent, competitive and determined. Our team can always count on her to come in with a solid score and to give us a boost. Lena is a great player, but [she is] an even better person and teammate. She is always someone I can go to if I need help or have a problem. Lena is a great asset to have for the NIU program on and off the course.”

Head coach Kim Kester said Gautier is an outstanding player as well as a great person who always uplifts others.

“Lena is a great asset to the program,” Kester said. “She comes in and gives it her all. She is very determined and focused, always looking for ways to improve.”

Although the statistics and results show Gautier is the Huskies’ most consistent golfer, that doesn’t stop her from being supportive of her teammates.

“I love them and [am] really happy to share this experience with them,” Gautier said. “They all have their own personality, and I love sharing moments with all of them.”

Gautier is optimistic about becoming a professional one day, but she said education comes first.

“I think that if I work hard enough and that at the end of my studies I feel that I have a level high enough then I’ll do all I can to become a professional golfer,” Gautier said.