Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By BRANDEE BRITT
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Four years ago, Jessica Ip had no idea where the state of Iowa was, now the senior women’s golfer cannot imagine what her life would be like without it.
“I didn’t even know what Iowa was at first, but when I came on my visit I was caught off guard by the city and the campus,” Ip, a native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, said. “Then I got to meet the team and speak with the coaches — they are both a big part of how I ended up here. Seeing the city and experiencing the atmosphere around campus drew me in.”
Three and a half years later, Ip has etched her name throughout the Iowa women’s golf record books. She currently holds the record for season scoring average (72.5; Fall, 2015) and ranks third all-time in individual performances for 18 (68) and 36-holes (139) and sixth for 54 holes (214).
She also has a tournament title under her belt. Ip won the 2015 Diane Thomason Invitational with a four-under-par 212 (70, 69, 73).
Now, with just the spring season remaining, Ip knows there is still more work to be done.
“I want to win more before I graduate,” Ip said. “I want to get where I haven’t been before, so qualifying for regionals and the NCAA Championships would be a great way to end my Hawkeye career.”
While her impact on the course has been substantial, it is the relationships she has built off it that have made the biggest impact, beginning with head coach Megan Menzel and assistant coach Mike Roters.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met people with the type of energy and enthusiasm they have,” Ip said. “It is contagious. You try to match their energy in practice and in workouts.
“It changes you and you don’t know it at first. Looking back, I realize that I am a lot different than I was freshman year. I used to be so quiet and now I’ve come into my own and I think about other people more. They have instilled that in all of us.”
And she’s forever thankful for the teammates she has had with her every step of the way.
“It has been a special journey,” Ip said. “The whole team now is so different than it was four years ago. As seniors, we have a different connection and I think that’s something that can’t be replicated.
“This entire experience is something that is so unique that it bonds all of us forever. I’m grateful for all of my teammates.”
Ip and the Hawkeyes open their spring slate at the Westbrook Spring Invitational in Peoria, Arizona, today. Iowa will compete in five tournaments, before traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the Big Ten Championships from April 20-22.