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All-County Girls Golf: Trujillo named top player

Trujillo moves forward with laid-back focus


12:00 AM, Dec. 13, 2012 EST

Redwood's Christina Trujillo shot a 35 over nine holes in her first tournament of the year, marking her first time finishing under par during official competition. / Ron Holman

Christina Trujillo's didn't know she had finished under par for the first time in her competitive golf career when her 35th stroke hit the bottom of the cup on Hole 9 of the season's opening tournament.

She didn't want to know, and she made sure of it.

Trujillo had been here before. Knowing was the very thing that tripped her up.

"I try not to be aware of my score," she said. "I try to take it hole by hole. That day I was actually three under par at the most, but I didn't think that I finished under par. It goes back to that, 'Oh my gosh, I need to make this putt to make under par.' Then I'll miss it or I'll three-putt."

For an athlete that has already done it all in her sport, little personal achievements like this are the ones that stick with her most.

Trujillo won her third consecutive West Yosemite League title after finishing second as a freshman. She also made her third trip to the Southern California regional tournament while finishing second at the Central Area tournament for the second consecutive year after two seasons of finishing third. It all ended in her second Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register all-county golf player of the year award in three years.

Yet it was the season's very first tournament -- not any of the major ones at the end -- that Trujillo remembers best. She names her first competitive round under par as this season's biggest accomplishment, not any of the lofty titles earned later on.

Those end-of-the-year accomplishments are so run-of-the-mill for her that the weather is what she remembers more than anything else.

"(The regional tournament) wasn't anything out of the ordinary except this year there was some crazy weather," Trujillo said. "It would be down pouring for five minutes and we'd stick all our rain gear on. Then the sun would come out and it would get up to 80 degrees. The greens were kind of sloshy, but then they would be lightning fast. I was kind of hard to judge."

Trujillo is used to volatile change. This she played under a new coach for the third time in her four-year high school career. Tom Biscotti took over the team for one year in 2011 before Freddie Swing took the reins in 2012.

"I've gotten used to just going with the flow and being able to adjust to whatever they wanted me to do," Trujillo said.

"As long as they didn't mess with me and my swing personally, I was fine with it."

As for that regional tournament, the weather wasn't the only thing that left an impression.

The competition there is steep because schools in the south play 18 holes all year long.

"There are some monsters," Trujillo said.

"This year was actually surprising because they had some little freshmen who weigh only 75 pounds and they'd take a wood and stick it like a foot away from the pin from 200 yards out. Yeah, that was kind of intimidating. They shot really well. I just kept my cool and went with it."

Just going with it has certainly been Trujillo's mode of operation as a golfer, whether by choice or by necessity. But don't let that fool you into thinking she's not focused.

Her focus is actually what she thinks sets her apart.

It's why she liked Swing's focused practices, goal setting and organized coaching style.

Trujillo played volleyball in addition to golf during the fall season of her freshman year. She added basketball and track in the winter and spring before deciding to play only golf starting with her sophomore year.

The decision to specialize came from the desire to earn an athletic scholarship. Golf won out because she is too short to play volleyball or basketball in college.

"Being an athlete in college just seems that much better than just being in college," she said.

Trujillo is also drawn to golf because of its individual nature. That makes her feel like she can control her own destiny -- especially when a new coach walks through the door seemingly every year.

Being a senior meant she also had some influence over her team's destiny.

She prompted her teammates to do pushups in order to build strength and increase the length of their shots.

"It's one thing to play golf and it's one thing to hit the ball, but it's another thing to hit the ball far, which I like to do," Trujillo said.

"So we did lots of pushups. In the beginning they were kind of whiny, like, 'Why are you making us do this?' But when they started hitting the ball farther they were like, 'Oh, I see now. It all makes sense.' "

Yes, it's Trujillo's ability to stay intently focused while also going with the flow that allows her to achieve so much on the golf course.

"I just tried to stay focused," Trujillo said of her opening round this year.

"I think my focus puts me above everybody else because they get nervous. I'm kind of like, 'Whatever, it's a game.' My goal was 34, but 35 is OK."

Dan Kukla is sports lead of the Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register. Follow him on Twitter @DBK_vtd. Email him at dkukla@visaliatimesdelta.com. Call him at 735-3286.

 

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