Q&A with Shannon Yocum

April 3, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. - Junior Shannon Yocum has emerged as one of the leaders of the 19th-ranked Cal women's golf team. The Golden Bears compete at the PING/ASU Invitational, which features an elite field, April 4-6 at the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz.

Yocum boasts a career-best 75.4 stroke average and began the 2007-08 season by claiming the individual title at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic in September. The Pacific Palisades, Calif., product led the Bears with a third-place showing in the team's last competition, the Duck Invitational.

A two-time NGCA Academic All-American, Yocum sat down with CalBears.com prior to the ASU Invitational to discuss the season, life on the team and her personal interests.

CalBears.com: How do you feel the team has developed since the fall?
Yocum: 'Every week we get to know each other a little better, so because of this, we keep progressing as friends and as teammates. I think our respect for each other keeps growing, as well, because we keep realizing and learning from each other's strengths. All of us are very comfortable pushing each other on the golf course, yet we balance our competitive nature with our friendship and support for each other. These girls are my best friends, and they know everything about my life. I know that this feeling is reciprocated by them.'

CalBears.com: You've had some really strong personal results this season. Are youplaying your best golf of your collegiate career?
Yocum: 'Yes, I believe that I am playing my best golf of my collegiate career. I have been working closely with Jeff Troesch, our sports psychologist, and I truly believe that the combination of his insight and the coaches knowledge and help have helped me to utilize my resources and transfer what I am practicing on the range to the course.'

CalBears.com: What was it like to win your first collegiate tournament in the fall atColorado State?
Yocum: 'It was an amazing feeling to say the least! I knew that I was one shot out of the lead going into the last round, yet I simply played every shot to the best of my ability and didn't let my nerves or my expectations get in the way of my game. I feel like it was a turning point in my collegiate career, and it gave me so much confidence and experience to work off of and improve on for the rest of this season.'

CalBears.com: What do you attribute the improvement to?
Yocum: 'I attribute my improved play to my work with Jeff Troesch. He has helped me so much with my awareness on the course and controlling my own mental game in order to free myself of any doubt or fear. He has taught me how to manage my way around the course, which enables me to play the best golf I can with the resources I have. In addition to Jeff, I have been working really hard on my short game. I have so much more confidence around the greens, which allows me to get par even with a missed approach shot.'

CalBears.com: What is your routine the morning of a round of a tournament and howearly does the team rise for an early tee time?
Yocum: 'The morning before a tournament round usually includes getting ready, eating breakfast, getting to the course, warming up as a team and then practicing before the tee time. This typically requires us to get up around two and a half hours before the tee time. People don't realize how long a tournament golf day really is. If we have an 8 a.m. tee time, we will probably get up at 5:45ish, get to the course before 7, play a four and a half to five hour round of golf and then practice for about an hour afterwards. When we play 36 holes in one day, literally we are on the course for about 11-12 hours. When you add it all up, we don't have much free time during tournaments!'

CalBears.com: What does the team like to do together when not golfing?
Yocum: 'When we are hanging out off the golf course, shopping is a pretty fun thing to do for all of us. Also, we enjoy going to movies or renting movies and watching them at one of our houses. We have also been known to cook together, work out together and go bowling together. We are all very good friends, and I wouldn't like it any other way.'

CalBears.com: Is there any time for fun when the team is on a road trip for a tournament? What do you do at night?
Yocum: 'Depending on the tournament and whether it is a 36-hole day or an 18-hole day, we may or may not have any extra time. Usually, if we do have time after a round, we are known to go back to the hotel and study. I know that doesn't sound very exciting, but school is really important to all of us. We had five out of seven girls on the team receive above a 3.0 last semester, and we are looking to keep improving that percentage. We always eat really well during tournaments. Coach makes sure of that! There are some teams that go get Domino's or something to that effect, but we are always trying to be nutritious and we eat accordingly.'

CalBears.com: What are the coaches pep talks like the morning of a tournament or are those speeches delivered the night before a round?
Yocum: 'We always have a team meeting the night before every round, and we go over every hole in detail and point out the problem areas. We also have a short meeting before the first tee time. This is usually pep talk time. Allie (Goodman) always has great quotes that are really motivating. This is the time when the team speaks up and gets each other pumped to play as well as excited to represent Cal. At the end of this pep talk, we have a really loud cheer, always led by Allie and we wish everyone luck and head to the tee.'

CalBears.com: If you weren't playing golf, what sport would you focus on and why?
Yocum: 'I'm sure that if I grew up somewhere where there was snow, I would be skiing instead of golfing right now. I absolutely love the thrill of skiing and the adrenaline rush of pushing the envelope. Every time I go into a sports store, I always take a look at the skis.'

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