Driving on a busy California freeway, and driving a golf ball down the fairway in NCAA Div. 1 women’s golf competition have both been eye-openers for Megan Osland.
The 18-year-old Kelowna Secondary School grad is happy to report both tasks are going relatively well in her freshman year at San Jose State University.
“I’m learning how to drive on the freeways here, so that’s new to me,” said Osland, who lives on campus at SJSU. “I was a little nervous at first, but it’s not all that bad once you do it a few times. I’m getting used to the traffic, now.”
Much like weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds, Osland is also adjusting to the considerable step up to the top level of collegiate golf in North America.
On a full-ride scholarship with the SJSU Spartans’ women’s program, Osland has gone through some predictable ups and downs in her rookie season, but is generally pleased with her progress on the golf course. Individually, she has posted a pair of top 10s at NCAA tournaments during the 2011-12 season, and has an overall scoring average of 76.10.
Two weekends ago, despite battling a cold, Osland helped the Spartans win their fourth consecutive Western Athletic Conference title in Mesa, Arizona.
She tied for 11th place overall with a 226 (73-75-78) total.
“It’s going really good so far,” Osland said of her first season of NCAA competition. “I’ve learned so much about golf already, and how much room for improvement there is in my game.
“There are a lot of really good players at this level, you can learn so much from them. Playing against schools like UCLA and USC, I just love the competition.”
Osland enjoyed her share of success back home in Canada, particularly in 2011. She finished fourth at the B.C. junior women’s golf championship, then followed with a top-20 placing at the national junior championship.
Osland also won the zone 2 Okanagan championship and, in the process, carded a course record round of 66 at Canoe Creek at Salmon Arm.
It’s just that kind of potential SJSU head coach John Dormann hopes will carry Osland on to a long and successful stay with the Spartans’ program.
Dormann said while Osland hasn’t been quite as consistent as he would have preferred in her first season, he expects that to change with hard work, maturity and time.
“Megan was probably a little better in the fall than she’s been this spring, but it’s not unusual to see freshman go through a growth period when they’re stepping up the ladder to this level,” said Dormann. “She has the potential to be a top collegiate player, she’s very talented and has a lot of skill. It’s just a matter of her gaining confidence, not putting so much expectation on the result, but more on the process, playing one shot at a time.
“We have a lot of all-Americans on the walls at our university,” Dormann added. “We envision Megan having the ability to do that, too.”
Osland hopes the best golf of her freshman season will come May 10 to 12 when the Spartans compete at the NCAA Div. 1 regional playoffs. Eight of the 24 competing teams will advance from there to the NCAA national championships May 23 to 26 in Tennessee.
As for Osland’s long term goals, the Kelowna product, not surprisingly, wants them to include competitive golf.
“You never know what might happen, the plan is to get four years of golf in here and see how it goes,” she said. “After that, I’d love to play professionally. I know that’s a long way off, but it would amazing to play this game for a living.”
Osland will return home to Kelowna this summer and plans to play in several tournaments around the province, including the B.C. women’s amateur championship.