Stewart Keeping Her Rhythm
By Nicole Ginley-Hidinger
As Colorado golfer Alex Stewart walks up to the tee, there is more on her mind than simply hitting the ball as far as possible. It is all about timing, something her 11 years of music has helped with.
Stewart plays four instruments: guitar, base, keyboard and drums. She learned all of them from her instructor in California, Daryl Hooper, the former keyboardist for The Seeds. Her favorite instrument is the base.
"I like base because it keeps the drums and guitar in line," Stewart said. "It keeps the rhythm."
Music acts as a way to keep both Stewart's nerves and ego in check when playing golf.
"I think I stay in pretty good rhythm on the golf course," she said. "I don't have an attitude. I think I stay pretty calm out there."
Stewart began golfing when she was 11 years old after her uncle treated her to a game. She has loved the sport since then.
"I liked being able to hit the ball far and that every hole is different when you play it," she said.
As a true freshman at Purdue last season, Stewart earned a top-five spot on the team and had 20 out of 21 rounds in the 70s. She transferred to Colorado for her sophomore year and finished tied for ninth at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships.
"CU was closer to home for me," she said. "I grew up in the mountains, so it reminded me of home."
The Buffaloes finished fourth at the NCAA West Regional, earning their program's first appearance at the NCAA Championships.
"Because we've been playing so well, there's just a chance to learn at every tournament we've gone to," Stewart said. "Just being at the high level of competition is my favorite thing."
Competing at a high level is not new for Stewart, a four-time high school All-American. Throughout high school, she played with the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team, AJGA Canon Cup West Team and Northern Nevada Junior America's Cup team. Stewart competed in tournaments including the U.S. Women's Amateur Championships. She broke 70 for the first time at the Tucson National in 2007.
"I'd never broke 70," Stewart said. "I'd come close so much. Then when I was 15, I broke it by a landslide, by five shots."
Despite her numerous accomplishments, Stewart still has to overcome the mental blocks that come with the game of golf.
"Sometimes I get really down and just won't believe in myself," she said. "Getting over that was one of my biggest obstacles."
Stewart has spent time talking to her coaches to work on changing her attitude. The results have been visible as she helped the Buffaloes win both the Anuenue Spring Break Challenge in Maui, Hawaii, and the Clover Cup in Scottsdale, Arizona.
As Colorado finishes up its season at the NCAA Championships in Franklin, Tenn., Stewart will keep calm the same way she always does, by keeping her rhythm.
"Our goal is to take it one day at a time," she said.