CHARLESTON, S.C. - The College of Charleston continued its spell of catching up with senior athletes, and this week we caught up with women's golf senior Leigh Whittaker from Baden-Baden, Germany.
Last year Whittaker won two golf tournaments, including setting a school record with a nine shot victory at the Palmetto Intercollegiate. Whittaker also won the Pinehurst Challenge and represented the College of Charleston at the 2011 NCAA East Regional.
Leigh is one of two Germans on the golf team and is the only senior this year. She is a Business Administration Major, with a concentration in Marketing. Her native tongue is German. She speaks a little French too, English is her second language, so it is very impressive that she is living studying and pursuing her dreams in a completely foreign language, country and culture. Here is what she had to say.
Q: When did you start playing golf?
A: I started playing golf when I was 10 years old, and I started playing tournaments when I was 12.
Q: When did you decide that you wanted to pursue your golf career at College in the States rather than in Germany?
A: I was done with high school in 2006, and I decided to play golf for two years. So at the end of 2007 I decided to play college golf, but I didn't have any contacts, so I didn't know how to approach it.
Q: Why did you decide to come to the College of Charleston, as there are thousands of Colleges out there to choose from?
A: Coach recruited me, sent me an email asking if I was interested in playing for him. I asked him if I could come for a visit because four years of my life is a long time and I didn't want to go anywhere that I may not like. I had never been to the states before. I wanted to see he place, so he showed me the around for 48 hours. I came and I really liked it.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience as a golfer at the College of Charleston?
A: Well... Meeting a lot of people, and my teammates are really cool. I won the Kiawah Island Palmetto last year in fall 2010, with a school record of 11-under and in spring 2011 the team won the Pinehurst Challenge, which I also won individually. Those wins have all been very memorable for me.
Q: What will you miss most from the College and the team once you graduate?
A: Well everyone is so friendly here at the college, and the team bonding, not only just the team bond but also I will miss the other athletes also, who are in a similar position to you and understand what you are going through. The whole student athlete experience will be missed.
Q: How do you think that playing golf at the College of Charleston might have better equipped you for life beyond College?
A: My aim is to turn professional, so I can play here 12 months a year, which would be a great advantage. I have met a lot of people here that are great and willing to help and support.
Q: What do you plan on doing after graduation?
A: I hope to turn professional
Q: Tell me something interesting, like what countries you have played golf in?
A: Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Turkey, France and America.
Q: What is your favorite eating establishment in Charleston?
A: Wow there are so many good ones here. Kick in Chicken is pretty good.....Oh and Kaminsky's
The College of Charleston women's golf team starts the spring season by hosting the Edwin Watts/Kiawah Island Classic at Kiawah Island Feb. 26-28.