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Golf: St. Xavier’s Taylor Thompson making quite an impact

St. Xavier's Taylor Thompswas named CCAC Women's Golfer Year after her freshman season. | Supplied photo

St. Xavier's Taylor Thompson was named the CCAC Women's Golfer of the Year after her freshman season. | Supplied photo

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Updated: August 25, 2014 5:42PM



Taylor Thompson isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.

So as a student-athlete at Knoxville (Illinois) High School making her decision on where to attend college, Thompson’s eyes lit up at the challenge of starting a new program in its inaugural season.

Thompson’s decision was made. She chose St. Xavier.

“That was one of St. Xavier’s main selling points,” Thompson said. “We were able to make it how we wanted it (as golfers), and we worked hand in hand with coach Mike (Mandakas) at it.”

With the program’s first year is in the books, and thanks to an especially impressive freshman season for Thompson, the Cougars definitely look to be on the right track.

Thompson was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Player of the Year and finished 42nd overall at the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships. She missed the cut for the event’s final day by one stroke.

“It was such a great year, and I had so many people to thank from my coaches and teammates to everyone at St. Xavier,” Thompson said. “It is really easy to be excited for next year.”

The rest of the CCAC and the NAIA better watch out if Thompson’s summer has been any indication of things to come.

Playing at the three-day Central Illinois Women’s Championship earlier in the month, Thompson didn’t just win. She destroyed the field, winning by a staggering 19 strokes.

Not bad for a golfer who previously had played just one of the three courses.

“I just played really well — really lucky, too,” Thompson said with a laugh. “I played really solid tee to green, and I had a lot of momentum. I wanted to play at a different level.”

The sophomore’s summer has been a busy one, both playing in tournaments and working at smoothing out all the little things in her game.

Thompson is getting back to basics and loving it.

“I’ve been pretty busy, working with coach Mandakas, and he’s been a great help,” Thompson said. “Everybody says the key to playing well is practice. Well, I’ve been doing a lot of that.”

Next up? Hopefully, adding another chapter to St. Xavier’s burgeoning golf history.

“This will be a great year. We’re all excited,” Thompson said. “We’ve got two new freshmen coming in, and we will have a solid team. We’re going to be a team to contend with.”



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