Q&A with Sophia Sheridan

May 3, 2006

BERKELEY, Calif. - Sophia Sheridan, who is ranked No. 35 nationally, is one of two seniors who look to lead the California women's golf team at the NCAA East Regional May 11-13 in Bryan Park, N.C. Sheridan earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors after boasting a 72.5 stroke average this spring and tying for third at the Pac-10 Championships.

The product of Guadalajara, Mexico, has improved her stroke average each year at Cal and currently owns a 74.4 mark for 2005-06. Sheridan sat down with CalBears.com today to discuss a variety of topics, including the team's NCAA regional goals, her future plans and her trademark enthusiasm.

What are your expectations for the NCAA East Regional?
'I like to not go with any expectations. You have goals, which is a totally different thing. We have goals to win every tournament. The priority is to be in the top eight, but if you shoot for the top eight, that's mediocre. You have to shoot for winning. We're really excited. We have a good team this year.'

What did you learn about the Bryan Park Course earlier this spring when the team competed in the Bryan National Collegiate that will help you at regionals?
'When Anne (Walker, assistant coach) called to tell me that we're on the East Coast, I thought that was so smart to go play there earlier. It's a golf course that you need to know. There are a lot of tricky holes. The wind plays an important factor. There's water. It's pretty long. There are some key holes that we can take advantage of that we pinpointed last time. I think we have a good grasp.'

What is it about the championship time of year that brings out your best golf?
'I'm definitely playing the best golf that I've ever played for Cal. I don't know what it is about the postseason, but ever since I've watched three teams win NCAAs, and it's not my team, I don't want that to happen again. We've worked hard every single day in the weight room and in practice, under the rain and under the sunshine.'

What was one of your most memorable moments at Cal?
'The Stanford Tournament my freshman year was the first tournament I played for the top five, and we won it. After the final round we met with Coach (McDaniel), as we usually do, and she started to cry as she spoke to us. At that moment, I knew it meant so much to her. It was the first win against a good field for the program, and it was at Stanford. That always sticks in my mind because it reflects how much the program means to coach and how much effort everyone puts in. Then, a couple of my teammates started crying. That sticks in my mind.

What are your professional plans?
'I'll be playing professionally on the Futures Tour starting June 1. I'm joining it halfway through. I'll graduate in December with a degree in interdisciplinary studies. I'm mixing political science and economics. If you finish top five on the Futures Tour on the money list, you automatically get your LPGA card. If you finish 6-20, you get exemption from the first stage of qualifying. Otherwise, you have to go to the first stage of qualifying which is in September. The second stage is in December. The numbers vary every year, but between five and 30 people make it (onto the LPGA tour).'

How much did it mean to you that your team hosted the Cal Guadalajara Invitational this year?
'It meant the world. It was a way that I could show my teammates and my coaches a little bit of my culture and where I come from. I'll be forever grateful to Coach for doing that for me. I thought it was so cool that they got to see it. All of my teammates were so open to everything. They tried every kind of food, even cow tongue. They were happy to be there. They enjoyed it. Hopefully, we can have it every year. My parents made breakfast for the team. They hosted one of the meals for all of the teams at my house. It was in the common area. I live in a private neighborhood. It was a different kind of tournament.'

Last night at the women's golf banquet, several funny stories were told about how much you love a challenge in relation to a tough shot on the golf course. Have you never met a shot you didn't like?
'I'm a human being. I can't get out of everything. Golf has a lot to do with imagination and visualization. When I'm in trouble, my imagination becomes stronger. I can see a lot more stuff. You see it. You feel it. I take risks in life and in golf. I try new stuff. I like it. It's exciting. When it happens, it pumps you up, and I'll make it to par somehow. I love challenges.'

Have you always shown your enthusiasm on the golf course?
'I don't really think about it. It just comes naturally. Anne always says that it seems that the more people that are watching me play, the more I celebrate. I don't think about celebrating. In the environment, it comes out. It comes out even more when I'm playing for the team. I know that every putt I make there are seven people behind me. It's not just my putt. It's not just my score. It's a score that's going to affect everyone else. I put every effort into every shot, so it just comes out that I celebrate. I take golf seriously, but at the same time, I enjoy everything with it.'

You live with your teammate, Sofie Andersson, who likes to cook and bake. Do you share those interests?
'I love cooking. She loves baking more than she likes cooking, I believe. I don't bake. I love baking, but I would eat everything. So, I stay off baking. I'm thinking of taking a culinary class next semester on Saturdays. It's fun to come home and cook. It's kind of relaxing. I love doing that. I love playing other sports. If I had time during the summer, I would play basketball every day. I love going to Cal games. I won't miss any Cal football or men's basketball games if I'm in town. I've also been to a lot of women's basketball games. I also enjoy doing community service.'

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