Q & A with Calle Nielson
Virginia junior golfer Calle Nielson is coming off a first-place finish in a three-way match with North Carolina and East Carolina last weekend. Friday the Cavaliers open play at the ACC Championships in Greensboro. The 54-hole even runs through Sunday. Live scoring will be available online at Golfstat.com.
How did it feel to finish first in the three-way match with North Carolina and East Carolina last weekend?
Nielson: It felt pretty good because I haven’t been playing very well the past few tournaments so it was good to shoot even par (72). My confidence is up, which is good going to the ACCs this week.
How much of an advantage is it to play the Ironwood Country Club Course, the site of last week’s win, since it is an NCAA Regional site and you could be there during the postseason?
Nielson: I think it is a big advantage. I don’t know if they will set up and play the course the same length. But it will help us to have played it two more times than most of the other teams that would be there.
What are your goals heading into the ACC Championships?
Nielson: As a team, it is of course to win the ACC Championship and start a new tradition. To do that we all have to have individual goals. My personal goal is to win the ACCs, Brittany’s [Altomare] goal is to win the ACCs. I think that is everyone’s goal and everyone is capable of doing that. We have a really good team going. We have to play well and if we do that, everyone needs to watch out.
Duke dominated the ACC Championships for many years, but like last year, the tournament is pretty open this year with a number of teams and individuals capable of pulling off a victory.
Nielson: Duke’s been playing well, Wake has been up and down, UNC has been steady. Florida State is good. I think we have had a rough spring, but we all played well last weekend. I think anyone can win it.
Sedgefield Country Club, the site of the ACCs, is a unique course with its Pete Dye style mounded greens. You don’t see that at many of the other tournaments you play. What challenge does that present?
Nielson: It is really tough and if the greens are hard, it will make it even more difficult. Last year there was no grass on the sides of the greens and you were putting off the sides of the greens. Even up to 20 feet off the greens. Hopefully with the warmer weather, that won’t be the case this year. It is a great championship golf course.
What are you are working on to improve your game right now”
Nielson: I think a lot of it is mental. For me, I think I have the talent to win, it’s just the mental aspects of the game and that’s the hardest part of golf. Keeping composed. I’ve worked on that and when I keep my composure, I think I play really good golf. You just can’t let a stroke here or a stroke there bother you. I need to condense my game so I’m not doing that, giving up a stroke here or a stroke there.
Do you enjoy the pressure that postseason play brings?
Nielson: I love this time of year. I think it is almost like I feel I don’t have anything to lose so I might as well go out and have fun. The postseason is awesome.
Did you get a chance to watch any of The Masters tournament last weekend?
Nielson: I watched it all day Sunday. We had a team thing where everyone watched it. I like Phil [Mickelson] and I think what he did this weekend was really cool, especially with everything that is going on with his life right now.
Do you watch much televised golf?
Nielson: I don’t like to watch women’s golf. I like to watch me’s golf more. I just watch it to watch good golf. You can learn from it.
What do you like to do to get away from golf?
Nielson: Socialize. I live with Ainsley Baker (lacrosse), Sydney Hill (volleyball) and Lindsey Miller (soccer). It is really nice. I can go home and vent to people who are also athletes and can relate. Sometimes you just need to get away from your teammates because you are with them all the time and you travel with them a lot. It’s nice. We can sit back and talk about each other’s teams.
Do you get to go to many of their events?
Nielson: I try to when I am here. I try to go to as many of their events as I can. We travel in the fall and the spring, so it can be tough.