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Vo Is Finding Her Own Way At Colorado

Nov 12, 2021
Freshman Natalie Vo

BOULDER – At 15-years-old, University of Colorado freshman Natalie Vo qualified for the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship.
"It just really opened my eyes to how good I could possibly be," Vo said. She had no expectations going into the qualifier and it was also the lowest she had ever shot, a 7-under 66 at the Sierra View Country Club.
With a performance like that, there should be no surprise that Vo earned a spot on Colorado's traveling squad this fall as a freshman. She played in all five tournaments, one as an individual and four as a part of the team.
"Honestly, I didn't really have expectations going into this season like thinking I would qualify for all the tournaments so far," she said. "It's just as an individual, but it's been really fun being able to play and go on the trips because I gain a lot of experience going on them. And I learned a lot just by being there with the team. So, it's fun."
The San Jose, Calif., native planned on attending the University of Colorado before the Buffaloes knew of her talent. It was a perfect match for CU, it would just take a little time to figure things out.
"I knew a lot of people that have come to Colorado and just come to school here," she said. "I've seen a lot of videos and stuff and it was really pretty so I decided to look into it and I had also applied to Colorado. So, I think it just kind of matched up and I started emailing the coaches and I'm here. I found out in June so I found out pretty late. I just had to wait a little bit."
Colorado head coach Anne Kelly is very happy to have Natalie on her team.
"We feel very fortunate to have added Natalie late in the process to our team," she said. "Covid-19 made recruiting a challenge, but thankful she hung in there and joined the Buffs."
Making the change from California to Colorado, as well as from high school to collegiate golf, was a bit difficult at first. But her older sister, Katelyn, is also playing collegiate golf as a sophomore on the Pomona-Pitzer team, which has been nice to help her talk about the differences but also support each other during their tournaments.
"I also miss home a lot," Vo said. "But I feel like that's just a part of moving away from college. But I like it so far.  I definitely practice more with the team, since I think most of our practices are either two or three hours long."
Vo was one of two newcomers to this year's team, which includes six returners. It could be easy to be intimidated as the only freshman, but she realized her teammates were all there for her. At first, she was really shy, but the team was so great about including her in everything that she opened up. She's also been able to learn so much from them as players because of all of the experience they have and have been able to share with her.
"Playing with my teammates I learned so much," she said. "I've learned so much from them. So, it's nice being able to have people there that you can look up to with a kind of innocence because they're older than you. They've been through this a lot more than I have and it's just my first year, so I'm just really learning from them, which is nice."
During the first five tournaments, Vo has played 14 rounds and has a 75.14 stroke average, which is fourth on the team. She is tied for the team lead in birdies (36) and ranks second in pars made (145). In the last event of the fall, Vo shot her first round in the 60s, a 4-under 69, during the second round of the Pac-12 Preview at a very tough Nanea Golf Course. She has been a consistent player that comes ready to play, which is something Kelly has noticed.
"Natalie brings a very professional attitude to our team," Kelly said. "She plays the game without a lot of outward emotion and just does her 'job' every day. Whether playing well or having a tough day you can never easily tell how the round is going for Natalie. That's a great attitude to have in golf and one we can all learn from.
"Natalie had a good fall semester for a first-year freshman in the Pac-12 and has the talent and capabilities to keep learning and improving."
With the fall season over, Vo and her teammates have a few months to work on certain areas of their game before the spring slate begins in February.  Then the push begins for the team to reach their goals.
"I think everyone says I want to get to nationals, but it's true," she said. "You always want your team to get that far and it would be super fun. So, getting to the national tournament, at least by the end of my four years and hopefully making regionals this year because I think we could because we're a very strong team."