KUALA LUMPUR: Natasha Andrea Oon knew that she had the game to become an impact player in her first varsity golf season at the San José State University.
Little did she expect to be named a second team Women’s Golf Coaches’ Association (WCGA) Division 1 All-America honouree, cementing her status as one of the best freshmen on the United States collegiate scene.
The 18-year-old national amateur enjoyed a sensational debut campaign as she finished the season with nine top-10 finishes including ninth placing at the 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, where she shot a three-over 222.
“I think it is cool to be an All-American in my freshman year,” said Oon. “Being an All-American was a goal of mine, and it was something I wanted to achieve in my four years here at San José State. I didn’t think it would happen this fast.”
“The season as a whole feels surreal. I didn’t expect to do this well in the national championship, considering how I had started. My putting came through as the tournament progressed, and it was nice to cap a great season with a solid performance.”
Oon started her rookie year with a victory at the Minnesota Invitational with a nine-under 207 and shot 67 and 70 in the first two rounds, which happened to be her 17th birthday. Oon tied teammate Abegail Arevalo for The Gold Rush individual title at two-under 214, in addition to runner-up finishes on three occasions.
“My fondest memory of this season was probably winning my first ever collegiate tournament in Minnesota. It proved to me early on that I can go low and have what it takes to succeed here.”
Oon adds that making the move to varsity, and being successful, hinged on one thing – the guidance she has received from coaches Dana Dormann and Pat Hurst – both proven winners on the LPGA Tour.
“I think the advice my coaches have given has made me a better player than I was before. They have been very generous in passing on the lessons they picked up during their competitive playing days, and it’s surely helped elevate my level of play,” shared Oon, who finished the season with a stroke average of 72.18 – the third lowest in the program’s history.