Sept. 20, 2013
By Nick Sellers
There are two sides to sophomore Emma Talley's golf game: her dominant play on the course, and her relaxed disposition off it. Both have helped get her where she is today.
"I'm pretty loud," Talley said. "But yeah, we have a lot of fun. I'm a little silly at times and they sometimes have to tell me to shut up. Our team sometimes gets so involved in the game, I think it's good to just have fun. Mic [Potter] lets me do that, so I love it."
Talley has a proven track record of knowing when to get serious, however, and it's most evident on the golf course. Most recently, Talley captured the United States Amateur Women's Championship in August, becoming the first Crimson Tide golfer to do so. Her birdie on the 10th hole of the final round gave her a lead over Yueer Cindy Feng, an advantage she would not relinquish in her a 2 and 1 victory.
"It was definitely a dream come true to win that tournament," Talley said.
The Princeton, Ky., native and former No. 1 recruit was well acquainted with success long before her amateur championship. Talley was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" section as a freshman in high school after winning the state amateur title with a record-low score. She immediately nabbed a starting job as a freshman in 2012 and competed in all 33 rounds for Alabama on her way to being named the SEC Freshman of the Year.
Though the U.S. Amateur Championship was just icing on the cake for Talley's rookie campaign, she says it was beneficial coming at the time it did.
"I think it gave me a lot of experience," Talley said. "I had lost a little bit of confidence before that. I got a little scatterbrained during school, and I started not being myself on the course, and I thought that gave me some relief. I was able to jump back and be relaxed on the course again."
Talley was not alone in her revelry, either. Roommate and fellow golfer Stephanie Meadow, recently named the No. 1 female golfer in Golf World's top 50 list, was also on hand to witness history.
"She's got loads of confidence, and it brings confidence to the whole team," Meadow said of Talley. "I'm very proud of her, we're very close friends, and I got to be there to see her win, so that was pretty special."
Ninth-year head coach Mic Potter also sees the same things in Talley her teammates see, that not only is she an accomplished golfer but also the glue that keeps the team together.
"[She brings] Chemistry," Potter said. "She's the life of the party, and she's sort of the great consensus maker. She kind of binds the team together."
Coming into her second year at Alabama as one of four returning starters, Talley admits she still has things to improve on. By any measurement, though, grabbing a national amateur title displays a great deal of success.
"This year I think I'm going to be a lot more relaxed," she said. "I'm already lot less stressed out this year."