Photos Courtesy LBSU Assistant Media Relations Director Cameron Fujimoto
On Monday, April 27, Long Beach State University (LBSU) Junior Kassidy Teare and her loved ones were huddled around a television at a viewing party, their eyes glued to the screen.
Golf Channel presenters Lisa Cornwell and Steve Burkowski stood side-by-side, listing the names of the individual regional qualifiers for the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Golf Tournament at the St. George, Utah site.
On cue, Kassidy’s name materialized onscreen as one of six individuals to qualify to the competition. Excitement and cheers buzzed throughout the room.
“It was fun to hear my name out loud,” Teare said. “It was very formal with the regular golf announcers […] very exciting.”
With her qualification, Teare is the first female golfer from LBSU to qualify as an individual to the NCAA Regional Tournament since Kay Hoey in 2005 and 2007, according to LBSU Assistant Media Relations Director Cameron Fujimoto.
She is scheduled to play this Thursday through Saturday at Entrada at the Snow Canyon Country Club in St. George, one of four NCAA Regional sites throughout the country.
“It’s a credit to her amount of hard work in the face of adversity,” LBSU Head Women’s Golf Coach Joey Cerulle said. “It’s a testament to who she is as a person.”
In fact, Teare almost didn’t see the light of competition this spring.
After two years of painful tendonitis, Teare decided to undergo surgery last winter. Before the surgery, “nothing seemed to help,” Teare said. “It got to the point where I was nearing a wall.”
Within a few weeks of her surgery, she was back on the golf course supporting her teammates.
“I was supposed to take a year off,” Teare said. But she returned to help the team — a speedy recovery that is “almost unheard of,” she said, all because she “couldn’t bear the thought of not helping” her teammates.
Her support turned into a stellar season with signs of golf stardom, Cerulle said.
“To have the spring that she had is a glimpse of what’s to come when she’s 100 percent,” he said.
Cerulle also noted that Teare has plans on going professional after she graduates next year.
Looking ahead, she attended two public Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) events last summer, preparing herself for a life in the sport beyond college.
Her ambitions make performing this week on the national stage all the more relevant. However, Teare says that evaluating her self-talk during competitions and visualizing her game keeps her calm.
“I won’t deny being nervous, but I’m much more excited than nervous,” Teare said. Her goal this year was simply to make the post-season, she said, but now her ultimate goals is making nationals.
“Once you reach a goal, its funny how you have to re-set,” she said.
Her constant goal-setting has not gone unnoticed by her coach and team. Cerulle said she’s come “full circle” since her freshman year, after journaling her experiences and evaluating how she can approach competitions differently.
“I keep a little book in my bag,” Teare said, where she writes step-by-step instructions for herself. “If I can focus on one thing, I can accomplish it.” She said she works “90 percent” on her mental game with her college coach and her coach from her high school years in San Diego.
Teare began golfing because of her family; they all played on the weekends growing up. But Teare never took the sport seriously until she was in middle school, she said.
“I started hitting the ball hard and realized I could actually go far,” she said.
Long Beach State was the first school to approach her with a scholarship in high school. After applying exclusively to universities outside of the state with weather that would allow her to play year-round, Teare was impressed. She calls the LBSU team the “funnest” around.
Cerulle said Kassidy “stayed very humble and mature” throughout the season and amid her qualifying news. The focus was always on the team, but now that she’s qualified to the post-season, her mindset is zeroed in on performing her best, hopefully with a trip to the NCAA Division 1 National Championships. Nationals are scheduled to take place May 22-27 in Bradenton, FL.
Cerulle has full faith in her abilities.
“[Kassidy’s] never taking a step back; she’s always taking a step forward,” he said.
Teare is prepared to get into her mental zone.
“My biggest goal for the tournament is to truly play my game,” Teare said. Well, that, and making her team proud.
“It’s very clear I wouldn’t be here without my team,” she said.
The Women’s NCAA Division 1 Regional Golf Tournament Can be Watched May 7 through May 9 on the Golf Channel.