Derek Hitchner is a graduate pupil from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who competes for the Pepperdine males’s golf workforce. Now starting his fifth yr with the Waves, he has a scoring common of 71.81, which is available in at quantity eight on the all-time listing for Pepperdine golfers. This summer season, he made a run to the semifinals of the US Newbie. Coming again for one more yr, he hopes to win one other nationwide championship earlier than he leaves:
Q: Why did you come again in your fifth yr right here at Pepperdine?
TO: I returned to Pepperdine for just a few causes. Primarily, Pepperdine has been so priceless from a golf growth standpoint. The coaches, programs and tournaments are all very useful to assist enhance my recreation. Moreover, a brand new initiative referred to as the PGA Tour College program was lately applied, which capabilities as a springboard for collegiate gamers coming into the skilled golf world. Taking part in one other yr right here helps my possibilities for this program.
Q: How do you are feeling concerning the new workforce this yr?
TO: The brand new workforce is nice. The dynamic is noticeably totally different from what we have had in previous years simply given what number of new faces there are. We’ve got numerous onerous staff and a collective surroundings created that can assist make everybody higher. I’ve beloved attending to know the brand new guys on the workforce and can’t look ahead to the rest of the season.
Q: What made your time at Pepperdine so particular?
TO: Pepperdine has merely been the whole lot I regarded for in a college – particularly with my golf recreation. This system has helped develop my recreation and self in so some ways, and I am going to all the time be indebted to Pepperdine and Coach Beard for that. Moreover, the varsity and general neighborhood have each fostered an incredible expertise and sense of residence. I really suppose that Pepperdine is a particular place and I’m so grateful that I’ve had the chance to be right here.
Q: Inform us about your US Newbie expertise?
TO: The US Newbie was unimaginable. It was such a surreal expertise and unforgettable. It was so rewarding to see the work I’ve devoted towards bettering materialize on that stage. The course – Ridgewood Nation Membership – the USGA, and the members there all created an unimaginable event surroundings. It was actually particular to expertise that with my household there and Coach Beard caddying.
Q: What made you select Pepperdine within the first place?
TO: I rapidly realized that Pepperdine provided the very best school alternative to each develop my recreation, self, and goal. I used to be extremely lucky to have met Coach Beard at an obscure golf camp in Eire, and with out that have I nearly actually wouldn’t have had the chance to go to Pepperdine. We stayed in contact following that camp and as I realized extra about Coach and this system, it quickly dawned on me that Pepperdine was a uniquely particular place and the perfect college to assist pursue my golf aspirations.
Q: What made that nationwide championship workforce so particular?
TO: The nationwide championship workforce was particular for a plethora of causes, however I feel before everything on that listing can be the relentless competitiveness of that workforce. That aggressive spirit cultivated an surroundings that drove every participant to the very best of their skills, and every man basically helped make one another higher. I’m so appreciative of the truth that I may expertise that.
Q: What’s your favourite reminiscence with the workforce?
TO: Provided that I wasn’t on-site at Grayhawk when the workforce received the nationwide championship in 2021, I feel my favourite reminiscence can be making it to the semifinals of the NCAAs in 2022. That was one of many extra particular experiences of my life . There was an unimaginable crowd of Pepperdine supporters and followers out in Scottsdale, and it was such an incredible alternative to signify Pepperdine and the workforce. It was such a robust expertise in that regard, taking part in for the varsity and the teammates round me. I do not suppose I am going to ever overlook the second after we superior by the quarterfinals and celebrated that collectively on the eighth inexperienced on the course.
Q: How has your position on the workforce modified from freshman yr till now?
TO: I feel you regularly construct towards an increasing management position because the years progress. I might prefer to suppose that that has been the case for me. I’ve all the time been much less vocal, and whereas that doubtless won’t change, it’s neat having the ability to spend time with some youthful guys and be there for them in no matter means is important. We even have a workforce of 4 graduate college students and one senior, so it’s an older workforce with a number of leaders.
Q: What has been your favourite course you might have performed on?
TO: We have been lucky sufficient to play Augusta as a workforce final yr, and I will not even start to aim to articulate how unimaginable that have was. The expertise was past what phrases can seize.
Q: What makes this teaching employees totally different from others you might have had previously?
TO: The primary distinction is that Coach Zambri has changed Coach Woodruff because the assistant. I really like Coach Z; he’s an unimaginable man and likewise an extremely insightful and good coach. He and Coach Beard each possess an unimaginable wealth of information with the sport of golf. It feels actually particular to have a yr with each of them. I plan on being as absorbent as potential with the time I’ve remaining with them!