By JONATHAN ORRILLO
KENNESAW, GA. – As Laura Estefenn stands on the golf course and visualizes her swing, she knows that her only opponent out on the course is herself.
The fascination with golf for Estefenn came at a young age. Her father, Farid Estefenn, and uncle both played the game and would take her to the course every chance they could. At the age of 12, she began playing the game of golf that lead her to play for Kennesaw State University.
During her playing career, Estefenn has accomplished many accolades that include winning the Open of Club de Rancho in Bogota, Colombia, competing in the Callaway World Championship at Torrey Pines, and being a member of the Colombian team in the 2012 Guatemala Open championship.
The most memorable experience Estefenn had in golf was winning her first tournament, the Eduardo Herrera Cup in Colombia, when she was 16.
“It was a national tournament, one of the most important in Colombia, and I beat the best golfer,” said Estefenn. “Even though I was the underdog, I beat the top ranked player. My victory helped me a lot spiritually and let me know what I could do with golf, which was come study here (United States).”
In her sophomore year of high school in Colombia, Estefenn began to play tournaments in the United States. When she played in the tournaments, recruiters would watch her game and she caught the eye of Kennesaw State head coach Rhyll Brinsmead.
“She had played some events in the U.S. and I had watched her,” Brinsmead said. “She wasn’t sure if she wanted to play college golf in the U.S. and kind of took an untraditional path. In the fall semester I had a scholarship and reached out to Laura so she ended up coming in the spring.”
The decision to come to the United States was not an easy one, but it was one that had to be made for the better.
“The separation from my family and also the change of culture was challenging,” Estefenn said. “When she (Brinsmead) signed me. I was not interested in coming, but then I realized that in Colombia I would not be able to play golf and study at the same time.”
Kennesaw State golfer Laura Estefenn. (Photo by Jonathan Orrillo)
Since she began playing for Kennesaw in the spring of 2013 as a freshman, she has developed her game tremendously. In 2014 she was named All-Atlantic Sun Conference Second Team and earned Atlantic Sun Conference All-Tournament Honors.
“Conference here is an enormous accomplishment and to be recognized was super important for everything,” Estefenn said.
Estefenn’s greatest strength, and the driving force behind her accomplishments, is her consistency.
“Her consistency, you know she is top 50 in the nation in fairways hit, so she has the ability to always put the ball in play and from there she is always steady,” Brinsmead said.
Not only do the coaches notice Estefenn’s strength, but her teammates do as well.
“She practices a lot. She is a hard worker,” former teammate Ket Preamchuen said. “She is very persistent and enjoys what she does.”
Her consistency has made her one of the top golf players at Kennesaw. Now entering her junior year, Estefenn is considered one of the leaders on the team.
“I am always looking to them to lead by example,” Brinsmead said. “It takes a special person to lead by your actions rather than your words, and I’m looking for Laura to continue to develop not just as a player, but also as a person.”
Estefenn knows that she has many responsibilities this coming season, especially with three freshmen on the team who will be looking to her for guidance.
“I motivate the freshman by demonstrating that they do not always have to score for the team, and that it’s also important play for themselves,” Estefenn said. “What we have to teach the freshmen is that the experience exceeds everything and if someone starts to play for themselves it is when they start to play better.”
In the off-season Estefenn wants to improve on her swing and build strength to add distance. She will be looking to win more accolades and help the Owls advance further in the NCAA tournament.