Stevens: Britney Choy Hopes Her Best Lobo Memory Is Yet To Come
In pulling up her stakes on the Symetra Tour (The Road to the LPGA), ex-Lobo golfer Britney Choy found a familiar path to an attractive patch of ground to stake out new territory.
At the University of New Mexico.
However, maybe that should read "back" at the University of New Mexico on turf that really isn't that new. But Choy left UNM as a student-athlete and returns as a member of the working class.
Lobo Head Coach Jill Trujillo has announced that Choy, a Lobo from 2006 to 2010, will join the women's golf team's coaching staff replacing former assistant Kari Zimmerly.
"Britney has every quality one needs to be a great coach," said Trujillo. "She is a great motivator and she enjoys people and loves the game of golf. Her background playing as a professional will only add to what she can bring to the team.
"On the recruiting side, she will open some doors that we really need to widen in the California area. It takes a lot off my mind having someone like Britney on my staff, who brings with her so many skills and attributes. I'm really excited to have her back with our program."
A lot of Lobos familiar with Choy should be excited about this addition to Trujillo's program. As a Lobo, she was a vibrant and personable leader, who also produced on the course. She probably has another fan in favor of her putting down some roots in Albuquerque: her car.
"I think I put about 6,000 miles on my car in the last two months," said Choy of the Symetra Tour that hits such exotic ports as Mesa, Ariz., Winter Haven, Fla., Decatur, Ill., South Bend, Ind., Harris Michigan, and Concord, N.H., -- just to name a few. Choy says her 2012 Toyota has about 30,000 miles on it.
Her most recent trip was from her home in Sarasota, Fla., to Albuquerque. "I was living the life of a gypsy," said Choy.
Choy said her life as an aspiring LPGA player included long stays in Florida, in Hawaii (her home), in Europe and on golf tours in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
She also said living on the road and out of a suitcase "was fun."
"I was always excited to be on the road and go back to some of the same places," she said. "I also looked forward to going to new places and playing in different events.
'I know I'll miss it, but I'm fine with putting it on hold because I'm excited about this new job and this new challenge. I'm looking forward to doing whatever I can to help Jill and the Lobo program continue their great success."
Choy played at UNM over the same span as Jodi Ewart. She came to New Mexico from Hawaii where she was the Hawaii State High School champ in 2004. She was a three-time Leilehua High Player of the Year (2004-2006). She was a 2008 Mountain West First Team selection in 2008 and helped UNM to three Mountain West titles (2008-2010).
Choy was the Mountain West's runner-up at the 2009 MW Championships and was a two-time MW Academic selection. She had to battle back from back surgery in July of 2007, but came back to play a full schedule in the spring of 2008, finishing tied for fourth at the MW Championships.
She was a four-year letterwinner at UNM and was the Lobos' top finisher at the 2009 NCAA Championships tying for 32nd.
Choy admits there was another factor in hanging up the clubs and joining Trujillo's coaching staff. She hadn't cut a check on the Symetra Tour so far in 2013 ($11,166 career earnings since 2011) and the opportunity to get into coaching was a strong pull, a natural pull.
"I wasn't having a great season and I've always wanted to coach," she said. "It was tough not to take advantage of this opportunity and I decided why not come back and get paid to do something you love.
"People have always told me that they thought I'd be a good coach and here I am."
Britney Choy as a Lobo:
CAREER: Four-year letterwinner recovered from back surgery to be one of the Lobos' top performers...had surgery in July of 2007, but came back to play a full schedule in the spring of 2008...Coach Trujillo gave her the choice of sitting out the entire season, but Choy was defiant to return...a natural leader and motivator of teammates with the tenacity to back it up...76.24 stroke average in 87 career rounds...76.24 ranks No. 10 all-time at UNM... Graduated in December of 2010. SENIOR (2009-10): Played in all 11 tournaments / 29 rounds...75.82 scoring average...8 rounds of par or better after just 6 her first three seasons / 54 rounds...low round of 70 in the final round of the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic and in the 2nd round of the Branch Law Firm Dick McGuire Invitational...best finish was a tie for 9th (2-under 217) at the McGuire...also tied for 15th at the Bruin Wave Invitational (+3 219) and tied for 54th at the NCAA Championships (+10 298). JUNIOR (2008-09): A 77.10 scoring average in 31 rounds, but she was better down the stretch...a 76.08 stroke average the last 4 tournaments/13 rounds, more than 2.5 shots better than a 78.73 average in the previous 5 outings/15 rounds...UNM's top finisher at the NCAA Championships, tying for 32nd at 14-over 302 (73-79-72-78)...also the Lobos' best at the MWC Championships, taking second with a 7-over 223 (74-75-74)...low round was 72 in the final round of the Dick McGuire Invitational and the third round of the NCAA Championships at Owings Mills, Md...finished 8th at the McGuire (1-over 220), her best finish of the season in relation to par.
SOPHOMORE (2007-08): Did not compete in the fall due to the back surgery, but came back to make the all-conference team...tied for 4th at the MWC Championships in Albuquerque with a 4-over 223...fired a 2-under 71 in round 2...had three top-11 finishes in six tournaments...placed 3rd at the weather-shortened Betsy Rawls Invitational...tied for 11th at the Ping/Arizona State Invitational when she shot a career-low 70 in the opening round and finished with a career-best 218...Mountain West Conference golfer of the month in April for her performance at the Ping tournament that featured five top-10 programs: No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Southern California, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 7 Georgia and No. 8 Oklahoma State. FRESHMAN (2006-07): Competed in two tournaments as a freshman as an individual...made her collegiate debut at the 2006 Branch Law Firm Dick McGuire Invitational, where she tied for 60th at 14-over par 233...low round of 18 came at the McGuire Invitational after shooting a 73...finished tied for 39th at the Ping/Arizona State Invitational. HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Leilehua High School and played golf for head coach Arlene Ogura...finished tied for 22nd in the 2005 Junior World Championship...advanced to the second round of the 2005 Women's Trans National Amateur Championship...2004 and 2005 Oahu Interscholastic Associations (OIA) individual champion and was named the OIA Player of the Year in 2004...2004 state individual girls champion in the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association...finished second in the 2004 Prince Resorts Hawai'i State Open. PERSONAL: Born Nov. 30, 1988...daughter of Wayne and Shelly Choy...has an older brother, Ryan...enjoys the beach, playing the ukulele and is addicted to guitar hero...majored in communications.