NIU men’s golf: Five minutes with Liam White

By Steve Shonder

Senior Liam White has hit a rough patch after being one of men’s golf’s most consistent golfers during the 2013-14 campaign.

After making three tournament appearances in the fall season, White has only played in one weekend this spring season. He participated at the Talis Park Challenge on March 15-16 where he totaled a three-round score of 237 despite having a solid first round score of 74.

Now, White is working to get back into the lineup and finish his career playing as well as when he began with two regular season tournaments left before the MAC Championship.

Q: How would you grade your performance so far this season?

A: B-minus.

Q: How come?

A: It’s tough. I’ve been playing golf for a long time. I’ve had a lot of good years, but sometimes you’re in a stretch [where] you’re not playing well. That’s the thing about golf — sometimes it gets in your head and you can’t get it done.

Q: What sort of refinements do you think you need to make to close out the year?

A: Swing and ability-wise, I’m at the top of my game. It’s the mental things that I need to work out. That’s the thing about golf; you play four- or five-hour rounds, and you’re only swinging the club for about a half hour. You think about the things that can go wrong, and then they usually do. I just have to figure out the whole mental side to the game and get a handle on that.

Q: What sort of strategies can clear that up?

A: It’s about distracting themselves on the course. Sometimes, they try to remove themselves from the course; some guys pretend they’re someone else. I’ve tried a lot of different things, but there’s never just one that works. There are always different options to go through.

Q: Are you pleased with the way your career has progressed?

A: My expectations were much higher [for myself]. I think the team is starting to come around to my expectations [for them]. I’d be fine if I was progressing as much as the team. I feel I’ve fallen short of the status quo. It could always be worse.

Q: As the team’s lone senior, what sort of experience do you bring?

A: It’s just trying to understand where the younger guys are coming from, knowing the kind of questions they’d ask. I just try to make sure they’re not making the same mistakes I did my freshman and sophomore years of college.

Q: Are you satisfied, or at least OK, with how your career at NIU has turned out?

A: Golf-wise, not so much. Personally, I’m starting to enjoy the game much more. If I can leave my college career enjoying it as much as when I went in, that’d be great. A lot of people get burnt out playing in college, but if I still have that drive to play I think I’d be happy.

Q: What do you think of the team’s progress so far in the spring season?

A: I think we’re peaking at the right time. Jordan [Wetsch] has come out to [a] slower start. I know he felt a lot of pressure on him in the fall to be the lead guy, and that’s tough when you’re trying to pick up four other guys, but they’ve picked it up. Raphael [Denais] is playing well; Nick [Huggins] is playing really well. If we find someone who can take that five-spot I think we’d be in good shape … [to] have a real shot at the MAC Championship.