By: Greg Peterson, Sports Editor
Photo Courtesy of Furman Athletics
Prior to when senior Alice Chen came to Furman, the women’s golf team was ranked 77th in the nation. At the end of last season, the Paladins were ranked seventh in the nation and were fresh off their second appearance at NCAA Nationals.
This was the challenge that Alice Chen had been looking forward to. “Rebuilding the program was something that I was eager to step into,” Chen explained.
Chen is from Princeton, New Jersey, and has managed to find herself as a senior on one of the most successful teams on Furman’s campus.
Chen credits former Paladin head coach Kelley Hester as one of the main reasons she chose to attend Furman. “She was so convincing and was my role model,” Chen said. “Not only was she my coach, but she was my friend and the role model for the mother and wife I want to be one day.”
Hester went to Clemson after Chen’s sophomore season, but this has not kept her from thriving under head coach Jeff Hull. She has been a major driving force for the Paladins success.
“You can be about the stats, but I want for people to say that after I leave here, ‘Alice loved Jesus and the people around her,’” Chen explained.
Chen has certainly filled out the stat books since she came onto campus. She has been apart of the three consecutive SoCon championship teams, was SoCon Women’s Golf Freshman of the Year in 2015, named to the All SoCon team for three consecutive seasons, was 2016 SoCon Golf Player of the Year, and tallied up several tournament victories. She has done this all while being apart of the SoCon Academic Honor Roll and the SoCon All-Academic Team.
Despite all of her success on the course, Chen has decided that having positive goals was the best way to enjoy the team’s success. “My junior year, I was so set out to be an All American. Even though it was my best year, I had my lowest scoring average, I had my first win, yet I walked away feeling very dissatisfied,” Chen explained. “I was so result-oriented that I let it determine how I felt about the year in general.”
Now that she is in her senior year, the goal is to just, “enjoy the process.” Chen further says that she wants, “To be extra grateful to have great tournaments or bad tournaments. If I can lead this team in loving each other well, then it will be a success.”
Although Chen loves the postseason, she is more concerned about the wellbeing of her teammates. “Of course I want to go to nationals, but I don’t think that can happen without loving each other first and foremost,” Chen said.
With all of the success that Chen enjoys on the course, she manages to find time to lead worship for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has been in this role for three years.
Chen’s great leadership and passion are a few reasons why she is this week’s Influential Paladin.
Alice Chen, photo courtesy of Furman Athletics