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I’m just an avid golfer

I’m just an avid golfer

As she strolls down the 18th fairway with the putter in hand and the scent of fall in the air, Muriel McIntyre knows her collegiate golf career has ended. You may have never watched her swing a five-iron, but the thousands of pure connections her clubs have made with the golf ball as it blades through the pieces of grass have been a thing of beauty.

Once in a great while a student-athlete comes along and dominates a collegiate sport over a period of years. They set records, win multiple awards, and have numerous stories written about their accomplishments. But the way McIntyre has represented Concordia University Wisconsin and the women's golf team will be remembered far more than her pars, birdies, and even eagles on the links.

McIntyre understands that her 6-foot-plus frame allows her to swing the club with more power than her counterparts, who are at times a foot shorter than her. There is one thing a stranger will always encounter when meeting the Canadian - her humbleness. McIntyre played sparingly on the Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour near her hometown of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada when she was younger, but she never really took the game seriously until she joined the CUW women's golf team her freshman season.

Ironically, McIntyre's second career collegiate golf tournament she was paired with Kristen Richardson, from Aurora University, who was the 2007-08 Northern Athletics Conference Player of the Year. McIntyre didn't do much, other than lead the field with an 85 and 83 to win by 15 strokes. Looking back, it was sort of the 'passing of the torch' moment as McIntyre began her run of four-consecutive NAC Player of the Year awards - only the second time in conference history a student-athlete has won the award four times.

"It is still surreal what just happened," McIntyre said last Thursday. "It really hasn't hit me yet. I played well in the conference tournament, but I owe everything to my teammates because without their encouragement I couldn't have accomplished everything I did."

Yes, she did accomplish things on the golf course that will likely not be seen for many, many years to come. But the Falcons women's golf team was just as dominate as McIntyre for a two-year period in 2009 and 2010 when they won back-to-back NAC Championships to become just the second school to ever do so.

The right-hander set various scoring records throughout her freshman season and continued to break her own records as the years passed. An average golfer who shot 70 would frame the scorecard and encase the golf ball for display on their office desk. But when McIntyre finished with a 1-under-par 70 during the final round of the NAC Championship she wasn't pleased, granted it was the best round she ever carded in a competitive tournament.

"It was just like a normal day and I was upset because I could have shot lower," she said. "My friends and people around campus were telling me what a great round I had, but I was thinking 'thanks, but I bogeyed the 15th hole.'"

It has to be hard for McIntyre to keep the 'pedal to the metal' knowing she is leading a tournament by so many strokes. It had to be difficult for her to continue to push herself when people were telling her she had the tournament 'in the bag' after the opening round.

"The game of golf is different because of the mental aspect," McIntyre said. "Mentally I keep telling myself 'you suck and you need to get better.' Every putt matters, even if I am leading a tournament by a lot. I may be on pace to shoot 70, but I still am thinking that I need to shoot 68 or better."

She forces herself to be better, even when she is leading by a record-setting 32 strokes. On the final day of the NAC Championship, McIntyre stood over a two-foot putt on the final hole with nothing riding on the stroke.

What was she thinking?

"I need to make this putt for $1 million and to win the U.S. Open."

Yes, McIntyre is years ahead of her time. But for the average golfer it is hard to understand how she stays so level headed, even after nearly beating A.J. Eathorne - a former LPGA pro - when she was 18-years-old. However, there is one thing McIntyre will never change and that is the mentality towards her game.

"I don't think I am good," McIntyre said. "I am an avid golfer trying to be the best I can be. People have told me I am good, but it goes in one ear and out the other. I believe what I want to believe and I am just a passionate golfer trying to get better."