Moving Up The Leaderboard
By Betsy Swanback
Jessica Wallace has always been a natural. A standout golfer at Colorado, Wallace excels at both golf and school. Wallace has set many records at CU, and hopes to continue her dominant ways during her senior year.
Wallace started playing golf early in her life.
"My parents both (played golf). And I have an older brother that they got into golf at a really young age," she says. "So I had play dates at the golf course and was babysat there. So it started really early for me."
Originally from Langley, B.C., Canada, she started her college career at Pepperdine University, and was a major contributor to the team's success. In her freshman and sophomore seasons, she had five top-20 finishes and four top-10 finishes. Her stroke average is ranked eighth all-time at the university. She excelled academically as well, being named to the WCC All-Academic first team as well as to the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll "gold" honor.
After her sophomore season, Wallace transferred to CU.
"I really liked the coaching situation at Colorado. And it's been a great decision. It has really worked out well for me as a whole," she says.
In her first season at CU, she set many school records while excelling academically. She finished the season ranked No. 35 by Golfstat, the highest final ranking for a player in CU history. She also broke the single-season stroke average by almost two strokes. She became the first player in CU history to break 73, with an average of 72.97. The previous record was 74.77.
She had 11 top 20 performances, a CU season record. She had 6 top-5 finishes last season, another CU season and career record, four of which were consecutive events. She was also the first player in CU history to earn a conference individual award, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors.
Majoring in finance, Wallace maintained above a 3.5 GPA her junior year. She credits knowing her golf schedules and planning ahead as the best way to maintain good grades.
"A lot of it is communicating with your professors," she says. "We miss a lot of class so having a good relationship with your professors is key. It's a lot of organization. We miss three days a week sometimes, and you just have to get stuff done when they need it done."
Teammate Emily Talley has helped Wallace's transition to CU easier.
"Emily is a great teammate. She is really competitive, super outgoing, very friendly," Wallace says. "It's tough coming in as a transfer, not only to a new team but also to a new school. And she was just really nice and welcoming. And we really push each other to do better on the course."
Talley is second to Wallace in most major categories, and holds many CU careers marks herself.
Wallace is modest and unassuming when discussing the records she holds.
"I'm not really aware of them to be honest," she says. "Top ten finishes is a big one. That means that you played well for a long time. I think for consistency's sake I like that one the best."
Her ten top-10 performances last season was a CU record and third on CU's career chart; all 10 were consecutive, besting the school record by three.
She has high goals for the upcoming season, not only for herself but for the team as a whole.
"I want to play better than I did last year," she says. "I would love to have an under-par 70 stroke average type of deal. So it's kind of a tournament-by-tournament situation. Top what we did last year as a team. The Colorado women's golf team has never made it to nationals before so that is our main goal this year. "
Over the summer Wallace played for Team Canada, where she won the CN Canadian Women's Tour Ontario event after a playoff. In the second round, she recorded her first hole-in-one in competitive golf. She also advanced to match play at the U.S. Women's Amateur Championships.
She traveled to Europe and played in the British Amateur and the Astor Cup and also played in the Canadian Amateur this past summer. She hopes to have a professional career after college.
The change to the Pac-12 from the Pac-10 is not a huge difference for the golf teams.
"It doesn't really affect golf as much because we have basically the same schedule as we have in past years," she says. "I think it is the best conference for the country for golf though. I was so psyched when I heard about the change."
The CU women's golf team has faced Colorado State thus far this fall and will face New Mexico, Washington, and Tennessee later this fall. They will face Arizona, Ohio State, Tulane, Notre Dame, Hawai'i, Washington State, Colorado and Vanderbilt during the spring season.
With big hopes for the future, Wallace is content to focus on the season at hand. She knows she can help lead the Buffs to greatness, and is looking forward to the challenge of bettering her outstanding junior season.