Husky senior Kelli Bowers took the time to answer some questions from GoHuskies.com in advance of the Pac-12 Championships.
GoHuskies.com: When did you start playing golf?
Bowers: I started playing golf when I was six years old. I first liked to drive the golf cart, and then I decided to start hitting, and I started competing at about nine.
GoHuskies.com: What about the sport made you want to play?
Bowers: I like the fact that you can never perfect it. Every shot and every situation is always different even you’re on the same course, it’s never the same.
GoHuskies.com: You were quite the stud athlete in high school, what sports did you play? What made you decide to play golf at UW?
Bowers: I played basketball and volleyball all through high school and through my senior year. I chose golf at UW because I thought it was the best chance I had at going pro at something and because of injuries.
GoHuskies.com: Your journey at UW has been pretty difficult and you’ve had to overcome a lot. What was the hardest part of your years here at UW?
Bowers: The hardest part was when I figured out I had to sit out most of my junior year because of a back injury. I’ve never had to sit out for that amount of time for an injury, so I really had to be mentally strong and figure out how to get my body back in shape. It kind of took a mental toll but it made me a better player in the long run.
GoHuskies.com: How long were you out?
Bowers: I played the beginning of the fall season (2012) and then right when we got into spring season in January (2013). I was pretty much out from January to May.
GoHuskies.com: What was the biggest part of you overcoming your injury?
Bowers: I think the injury was a good thing because it made me miss playing. I think I got a little complacent playing the sport and taking it for granted. When you can’t do something you love, you miss it and that’s what motivated me to get back into it.
GoHuskies.com: In order to make the Pac-12 team, you had to compete in a playoff. What was your thought process going into that playoff, especially it being your senior season.
Bowers: Knowing this could be the last time, you know, that I could play on the team, I just kind of went into it with a “I’m not going to lose” mentality. I think from playing so many other sports I just have a competitive edge and when it comes to a one-on-one situation, I think I’m better in those situations than as a team.
GoHuskies.com: What kind of role do you play on this year’s team? How has being the only senior on the team this year affected that role?
Bowers: I feel like I’m kind of the mom on the team. Anyone feels comfortable coming to me, and talking to me about anything and I think I keep things light. Our team is pretty serious all the time and I like to remember and remind them that it’s ok to have fun, and goof off, and be normal college students too.
GoHuskies.com: Favorite moment of your 4 years at UW?
Bowers: I would say Nationals my freshman year. We weren’t expected to go at all and we made it. I played the best I had in a long time and it was just a fun week. It’s what you aspire to get to every year. Being there once was definitely the top moment.
GoHuskies.com: Does it motivate you to go again this year?
Bowers: Yes, I want to be able to share that with my teammates who have become my best friends and it’s just something you can’t put into words. You work all year for that moment, so when you finally get it’s hard to explain in words. It’s fun. It’s a long, fun week.
GoHuskies.com: Favorite moment of this year?
Bowers: Probably getting a hole-in-one in Hawaii. It was my first one, and I kind of struggled in that round, and then I got a hole-in-one and it made it a little better *laughs*. And it was in Hawaii *laughs*.
GoHuskies.com: What do you think impacted you the most over your 4 years at UW?
Bowers: I think the people you’re constantly around at UW, from the trainers, to the professors, to people in academics over at Conibear. But I would say the trainers definitely impacted me the most. I had the closest bonds with the trainers and they just kept me going in the hardest times.
GoHuskies.com: Do you have plans for after you graduate? What kind of role will golf play in your post-grad life?
Bowers: Yes! After graduation, I’m going to turn pro and play in a few small tours, and try to get my card through Q school. Kind of just take it step by step with if I’m enjoying, if I’m still having fun, if my body holds up, and if that doesn’t happen, I’m going to go to graduate school.
GoHuskies.com: For what?
Bowers: Athletic Administration.
GoHuskies.com: Going into Pac-12s this weekend, how important is the tournament to the team and how do you guys approach a big tournament like this one?
Bowers: I think it’s really important for us to show up and play well, and show what we actually are made of. I don’t think we’ve really been able to show that where there have been a lot of Pac-12 teams and I think it’s important for us make an impression on teams and show them that we matter, and that we’re good, and they need to watch out when it comes to Regionals and Nationals because we can easily sneak in and beat everybody because we have the depth, and potential.
GoHuskies.com: UW is hosting regionals this year, are you excited to play closer to home? Who will be coming out to watch the team compete?
Bowers: I’m definitely excited to be closer to home because it means a lot of my family will be able to come out, and being the only person from Washington, it will be good to have the support from my family, but also for teammates to feel that support.
GoHuskies.com: How much of your family is coming out?
Bowers: My parents, aunt and uncles, and brothers. Everyone who is around will be there.
Favorite Athlete : Russell Wilson
Favorite Golfer: Ricky Fowler
Favorite Movie: Happy Feet
Favorite Gatorade Flavor: Any of the Blues
Favorite Class at UW: Sociology of Sport
Favorite UW Team to Watch: Volleyball
Favorite UW Athlete to Watch: My teammates