COLUMBIA — Missouri freshman Kate Gallagher can't waste a second of the day, whether she is on the golf course or on campus; she would rather be busy than bored.
“We are always out here practicing,” Gallagher said. “If I’m not practicing, I’m in class. If I’m not in class, I’m pledging my professional business fraternity. I’m also in a leadership program and an entrepreneurship program outside of that. I get bored if I’m not busy. It’s good for me.”
Gallagher was a four-sport athlete at Savannah High School in Savannah. Although she insists she is much busier now as a single-sport athlete, she's happy about it.
Gallagher’s workhorse attitude has been put to the test this year. She is part of one of the best freshman classes assistant coach Mindy Coyle said she has coached.
“We’ve kind of set the bar pretty high for them compared to other incoming freshman," Coyle said. “Kate is an all-around athlete and probably one of the most athletic players we’ve ever recruited.”
Gallagher may enjoy her pressure-filled lifestyle, but adjusting to one sport takes time and she credits her older teammates for getting her through the year.
“The older girls have helped me out big time, teaching me the ropes and helping me with the mental side of my game,” Gallagher said. “I’ve matured a lot I think, I hope. I’m still growing.”
While practicing putting on the 18th hole, juniors Hannah Lovelock and Marissa Cook discussed their differing opinions on how much the older players have actually helped.
“I’m not much of a role model, but I guess I can see that,” Lovelock said. “Marissa and I are pretty lighthearted and try to help.”
“All the freshman come to our house,” Cook said. “There isn’t a time our door isn’t open to them.”
Even with the help of her teammates, Gallagher still has a lot to learn about golf, but her drive and athleticism gives Coyle a lot of hope.
“She’s got a lot to learn on the golf course,” Coyle said. “Being one of the go-to athletes at her high school, she was never able to devote everything to golf. But by looking at Kate’s performance now, her level of play says a lot about what kind of golfer she can be.”
Gallagher hopes to prove her growth as a player this weekend when she competes in her first Big 12 Championship. She finished second on the team during the Tigers' last tournament at Baylor, shooting 76-81-76 for a final score of 233. She finished one stroke behind freshman teammate Taylor Gohn's 232.
“I think we can come out and shock a lot of people. I know we have the potential,” Gallagher said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but we can keep it together for three rounds. It’s our home course and I’m excited.”
The Big 12 Championship will be a 54-hole event at The Club at Old Hawthorne from Friday to Sunday. The golfers will play one round each day, beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.