Freshman golfer Jennifer Kupcho wasn’t always sure she would be playing golf at Wake Forest. She didn’t know if she was skilled enough to compete in the ACC.
With a fourth-place finish at the Landfall Invitational and a fifth-place finish at the Tar Heel Invitational, Kupcho is having a stellar rookie season and looks to lead the Deacons as the season progresses. Now that she has proven herself as a leader and a fierce competitor on the course, it is Wake Forest who is lucky to have her.
What made you choose Wake Forest?
As I was getting recruited, I had a lot of different choices. I’m from Colorado, so I was being recruited from around there. When Coach Dailey first talked to me, I thought there was no way that I’d be able to play golf at the [Wake Forest] level. Wake Forest was so much better than everywhere else. As I got into it, I realized I could do it and I really want to go pro, so Wake Forest was the best program to help me achieve that goal.
What convinced you that you could make the leap to ACC golf?
Just talking to my parents and my swing coach. They pushed me to be the best that I could be, and the summer before I committed, I really got better. My skills got better and I realized I could do it.
You’ve had a very successful freshman year so far. To what do you attribute your success?
This summer I prepared with my swing coach in Colorado, which helped a lot. Here, my coaches Dianne Dailey and Kevin Diaz have really helped me to work on the stuff that I struggle with, and that’s really helped my game.
What parts of your game are you constantly trying to improve?
My wedge game and my short game. My putting is usually pretty good, but when I got here, I don’t know what happened to it. Dianne and Kevin have really been helping me with that.
What’s the best part of your game?
My driving and my irons, and my hitting in general is the best part of my game.
How did you get your start in golf?
My parents started my brother before I did. He’s four years older, and then I just got into it. They let me have fun with it. Then I realized that I was actually pretty good so I wanted to play.
What has the transition from high school golf to college golf been like?
Playing on my high school team, I was the best player on my team. I was always trying to get my team to be better and work harder. Coming to Wake Forest, I thought I would come in and be a follower. I came in and I was actually a leader to the rest of the team.
Golf can be a frustrating game. What keeps you coming back?
After hitting a really good shot, you think to yourself “wow, that was really good” and get really excited. You do get mad when you hit a bad shot, but there’s always that comeback that makes you think “I can do this”.
Who have you looked up to throughout your golf career?
My role model isn’t a professional, but it’s my brother. He’s always pushed me and always been better than me, so I’ve always wanted to get to where he was.
What’s your favorite moment that you’ve ever had in golf?
I played in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur in 2012 or 2013. I never thought I could compete on a national level because I was always in-state. When I got there and I actually did well, and I realized that I could actually do this.
How did you finish at that tournament?
It was a little different. In stroke play I finished tied for 11th, and in match play I got to the round of 32.
Favorite moment as a Deacon so far?
I’ve never had three birdies in a row. This last tournament, I was really struggling with my putting so I asked Kevin to follow me. He was helping me read my putts, and I made three in a row.
How do you prepare mentally and physically for a tournament?
I get into a mode. Once I got here, I found this game on my phone called 11 Circle. I always play that before a round because it gets me focused.
What are your goals in golf, as a Deacon and beyond?
I want to be a professional and play on the LPGA Tour. As a Deacon, [I want to win] an ACC title and winning a tournament individually and with my team.