Q&A With Claire Dury

April 17, 2005

BERKELEY, Calif. - Claire Dury is the only senior on this year's Cal women's golf team. The veteran brings a wealth of experience to the Golden Bears, having competed in three NCAA Championships and for the New Zealand national team. CalBears.com sat down with Dury to discuss the Bears' excitement for the upcoming Pac-10 Championships, the New Zealand national team and what she'll miss about Cal after graduation.

Cal will serve as host of this year's conference championship Monday-Wednesday, April 18-20 at Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton. Admission is free to everyone.

How were you able to return this spring?
'I originally enrolled at Massey University in New Zealand. When I transferred over, my playing years began when I enrolled full-time back there. Our school year begins in January, not August. I effectively lost a semester when I came here. I petitioned the NCAA because of the difference in semesters to get an extra semester. I wasn't playing golf over there. I was going to be taking a class anyway. I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I was excited to find out that I was coming back to play for another semester.'

What was your experience like representing New Zealand at the World Amateur Team Championships last October?
'That was a great experience. I had played for the New Zealand team. Then, I came to play for Cal. After two years, I was able to go back and play for them once again. I had been in our team environment. It was interesting to go back and play for the New Zealand team. I really enjoyed it and had a different perspective on it. I had been away from it for so long. It was fun because (Cal's) Sofie (Andersson) was there playing for Sweden. Sarah (Huarte, former Cal player) was there playing for the United States, too.'

What are your plans after graduation?
'I'm graduating after this semester, and I'm planning on playing professionally after that. I'll probably start out playing some West Coast Tour events. Then, I'll try to qualify for the LPGA or the Futures Tour. I'm not interested in pursuing psychology (my major) as a career. I found it interesting to study while I'm going through my education. I'm more interested in going into business.'

How excited is the team to be the host of the Pac-10 Championships this year?
'We're definitely excited about hosting because we really love the golf course. Ruby Hill is a great golf course. We've played there quite a lot now. We're learning more about the course each time we go out and play. We feel like we have a really good chance. We came off a win at Oregon. Even though we're not ranked high going into the tournament, we feel like as a team that on the right day we can get it together and actually win Pac-10s.'

What is the course like at Ruby Hill?
'There are not a lot of trees. There are a lot of bunkers. The greens are going to be good, and they're going to be fast. '

What is your reputation on the Cal team?
'They know that I've been around for awhile. I'm the most experienced one on the team. I've played in three nationals. I know how everything works. The freshmen come to me if they have questions about what classes they should take.'

What are you going to remember most about Cal?
'I'll remember a lot of the things I did with my teammates and playing in tournaments. We've been to a lot of different cities. We went to Japan. Campus life, things that go on when you're walking to class. There's so much going on. It's been a positive experience.'

You mentioned at last year's team banquet a story about your first trip to come to Cal for school. Can you share part of that story for the fans on CalBears.com?
'I didn't have my Visa. I had my I-20 (school document that let's one get into the country). There was a miscommunication between coach and I about what documents I had. I got to immigration in Los Angeles, and they were like, `You need to go home.' I had to fly home to New Zealand to get my Visa the next day, and then I flew back to the United States. I did 13 hours from Auckland to Los Angeles. Then, I waited in Los Angeles for the night. I flew back to Auckland and got my Visa documents and got on the next flight back because school was starting. This wasn't how I imagined my arrival to the United States. I can laugh about it now, but initially it was horrible.'

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