Radnor’s Brynn Walker is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

Walker, a senior, recently captured the PIAA Class AAA girls golf state championship for the second straight year, shooting rounds of 74 and 76 for a 150 total and a three-stroke margin over runnerup Maddie Sager of Owen J. Roberts. She is the first Delaware County girls’ golfer to win two PIAA state titles. A National Honor Society member, she will be playing golf for the University of North Carolina next fall.

Q: Tell us about your tee shot on No. 16 at Heritage Hills in the final round of the PIAA state championship. It’s a 330-yard par 4, and you pulled out a driver and hit the green. What was your key swing thought on the tee?

A: Over the past four years I’ve played that hole many different ways. Last year I realized that the biggest opening is if I hit a driver by the green. It has grown to be one of my favorite holes. I was a little frustrated from the prior hole but I kept my focus and stuck to my routine. I picked my target and tried to hit it the best I could. It turned out pretty well.

Q: There was a one-hour-delay in the final round because of morning frost. How did you handle the additional waiting time before teeing off?

A: At first I thought it was just a half hour so I just sat in the dining room for an extra half hour and started my warm up as if it were any other round. It wasn’t until I was ready to go to the first tee that I found out it was now an hour delay. So this was a bit flustering but I had my parents, coaches and a few friends to hang around and wait with me. I putted a little more, and before I knew it, it was time to go.

Q: What does it mean to you to be the only Delaware County golfer to win two PIAA girls golf state titles?

A: I feel it is a real honor. Growing up I had always looked at Aurora (Chichester’s Aurora Kan, who won the PIAA state title in 2010) and Jackie (Radnor’s Jackie Calamaro, who won the PIAA state title in 2009), admiring their state titles, and hoping I could get one myself. To have two now is a real bonus and something I think is very special.

Q: You had the lead coming into the back nine of the final round of the PIAA state championship. Did you think about protecting your lead at all, or were you in more of an attacking mode?

A: During two tournaments this past summer, I was in the lead with nine holes left, and made the mental
mistake of becoming complacent and trying to protect the lead. I ended up losing both tournaments. This time I was not going to make that mistake. I tried to stay in the mindset of just trying to play my best golf. Trying to shoot as low as I possibly could. So I kept attacking until the last putt fell.

Q: You’re known as a long driver — what do you think is the biggest key to hitting a long drive?

A: I don’t necessarily think about hitting the ball long. I just stick to my swing and it gets pretty far out there. I do work out a lot in the off season and gain some yardage that way. One of the biggest keys is staying loose and tension free. I mostly work on gaining muscle in my legs and core to increase stability and power.

Q: Who is your favorite golfer, and why? Is there a golfer whose game you try to pattern your own after?

A: My favorite golfer is Paula Creamer. Our games aren’t very similar, but I really admire the way she handles herself on the golf course. She’s got fire in her, but presents herself in a very classy and sportsmanlike manor. I try to handle myself the same way she does whether I’m succeeding or failing. My favorite men’s player is Adam Scott. Our games are very similarly so I often watch him and find different elements of his game that I can add to mine.

Q: What aspect of your game are you currently working on the most?

A: I am always trying to improve on my putting, especially my lag putting. It is one of the weakest parts of my game, so I think if I can improve on that it will really help me shoot lower scores. Also during the off-season I work out a lot to help increase strength and prevent injuries.

Q: Who have been your top golf mentors, and what has been the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: My biggest mentor has been my brother, Ryan. He introduced me to the game when I was 8, so I owe a lot of thanks to him. He has continued to help me out and support me throughout my golf career. Ryan is still competitively playing so he understands what it is like and it is always nice to talk about different parts of our game or after rounds… It’s somewhat comforting. Another mentor of mine is my Dad. Although he picked up the game the same time I did, he has been a tremendous help. He has always been an athlete so he knows how if feels to be in my shoes and can talk me through all types of circumstances. He’s always there helping me to improve and grow as a golfer and a person. Overall, my family has been my biggest support.

Q: What, to you, has been the highlight of your golf career to date outside of Radnor? Can you share with us your most vivid memory of that highlight?

A: I have several golf memories that come to mind, but two of my favorites were my first AJGA win and my first USGA event that I qualified for. In July 2014, I won my first AJGA at Huntington Valley. It had been a big goal of mine for the past two years, so it felt really good to finally achieve my goal. In the summer of 2014 I played at the U.S. Girls Junior in Flagstaff, Arizona, and it was a really great experience to help me learn and grow as a player. I also was very impressed by the quality of the event and how well the USGA conducted it.

Q: What is your favorite golf ball and why?

A: My favorite golf ball is the Titleist Pro V1x. I’ve always used a Titleist ball so it’s what I am used to and by far the best ball I’ve ever tried. I just like the way it feels both hitting it and in your hands. It’s a quality ball I can always rely on.

Q: What is your favorite club and why (can you give specs)?

A: My favorite club is my driver. It is a Titleist 915 D3. I have always loved bombing drives, whether it be on the range for fun or in a competitive round. I know it can be a big advantage at times, which makes my really appreciate it. It is definitely my favorite club in my bag.

Q: What size grips do you feel most comfortable with?

A: I use the Golf Pride Blue and White Multi-compound grips standard size. I really like the way they feel in your hands and they are reliable in all weather conditions.

Q: You will be playing golf for University of North Carolina. What attracted you to Chapel Hill?

A: There are many different aspects of Chapel Hill that made my decision really easy. I really love my coach. We get along very well and we easily connect and relate to each other. Another aspect that was very important was the team. I stayed with the girls for two nights and was able to spend a lot of time with them. They were all so nice to me and the type of people I want to surround myself with. Although some of them may not be there when I am, it gave me a good idea of what type of people Carolina attracts. Obviously, the prestigious golf program was a big factor in my decision. It is a great program that I think will really fit me well. With all of these aspects and many more it is very easy to see why I chose Carolina! As a career, I hope to graduate from UNC and play on the LPGA tour.

Q: What do you think you’d like to major in? Is there a career path that currently interests you?

A: Right now I am considering majoring in communications. I would love to do sports broadcasting after my golf career is over.

Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation on the day of a match.

A: I usually eat a nice hardy breakfast. Preferably a breakfast sandwich from Joes (Marty makes the best:) Then I will get to the course about an hour and a half early and begin my warm up. I’ll hit balls on the range, chip, putt, and then head to the first tee to start my round.

Brynn Walker’s top picks

Book: Mindset.
TV show: Friends.
Movie: Pearl Harbor.
Pre-match pump-up song: “Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band. I always listen to country, so before a round I stick to what I’m used to. I don’t really want a song that will get my adrenaline going, I’d rather have one that calms me down and puts everything into perspective.”
Athlete: Paula Creamer.
Person I most admire: “I really admire my grandfather. He passed a few years ago, but he was really a special person.
He was a man of true character. He amazed me with the way he balanced all aspects of life and had such an amazing outlook. The values he taught me I am forever appreciative of. He is definitely a hero to me.”
Team: “I’m a big USA fan. Whether it be the Olympics, Solheim or Ryder Cup you’ll always find me wearing red, white and blue.”
Place to visit: Stowe, Vt.

(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)

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