March 26, 2004
Wisconsin's Malinda Johnson was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week on March 24th, following her win at the Baylor-Tapatio Spring Shootout last weekend. Johnson earned medalists honors by posting a three round score of 217, with a low round of 71. This is third Conference honor of 2003-04 for the Eau Claire native, and fourth of her career. Johnson, who ranks as the only senior on the Badger squad, has led Wisconsin in scoring since her sophomore campaign. Here is how Malinda answered some of our questions about her consistent play, swinging as a lefty, being aggressive on the course.
As a Wisconsin native, did you always know that you would play at UW?
Yeah, being in Wisconsin there was a little bit of pressure to go there. But I wanted to look around and see what was out there. I did like that it was close to home. The main thing that pulled me here was my coach (Todd Oehrline). When I went to college I wanted to improve my game and move to a new level and I knew that he could take me there.
Last fall you finished in the top five at every tournament, and this is also the third straight year that you have led the Badgers in scoring average. What do you attribute your consistency to?
Just a lot of hard work over the years, and really focusing on my game. I try to do everything I can to improve. And then when I get to tournaments, I just do everything that I need to be in the hunt. But I guess it just comes from a lot of hard work.
I noticed that you swing the club left handed. There are some golfers out there, like Phil Mickelson, who also strike from the left side, but do everything else right handed. Are you a natural lefty?
No, I do everything else right handed. My dad is the same way, and I guess he thought that was the best way. My whole family is like that though, we do everything in golf the opposite of what we usually do.
Does playing left handed have any advantages or disadvantages?
It really just depends on the golf course. Some courses are set up for right handed players, but others play well to left handed players. I don't think there is an advantage or a disadvantage and that the breaks all even out in the end.
How would you describe your playing style- are you aggressive and go for the pin, or do you aim for the center of the green?
I'm a very aggressive player, sometimes it pays off and sometimes it gets me into trouble. I really have a hard time not being aggressive actually, and there are times when I should back off that I don't. My coach and I will talk about it sometimes, and he occasionally tries to talk me out of it, but it doesn't always work.
What is your favorite course?
The course that we played at last weekend, at the Tapatio Springs Resort is probably my favorite right now. It has a lot of interesting things on it and many different types of holes.
As a senior, what are your plans following graduation?
This summer I'm going to be competing on the Futures Tour and then go from there. It is definitely a goal to play on the LPGA tour.
Have you ever played in a pro event?
I've played in one, the Rail Classic in Springfield, IL, two years ago.
Finish this sentence. When I'm not golfing, I am???
Working on art projects, usually drawing or painting. (Malinda is an art major at UW)