By: PRISCILLA CABALLERO
Team captain, lead player, MVP and medalist for the CHS varsity girls’ golf team, Lauren Hickam has a talent for gold and a love for competition.
Last year, Hickam moved from Lake Tahoe where she had started playing golf at 10. As a freshman in Tahoe, she participated in small tournaments and cups during August 2015. Since then, Hickam has fallen in love with the game of golf and the competition.
Moving from Tahoe to California in August 2016, sophomore year was just the start of Hickam’s success and increased competition. She currently carries a 5 handicap and is attempting to lower it further. On last year’s girls’ team, she medaled 9 out of 12 times playing against other high school teams within Monterey County.
Hickam continues to lead the team and has been the low-scoring medalist in each match. This year, Hickam’s average score on 18 holes is within the 70s to 80s range. Hickam played 18 holes at Haggin Oaks golf club in Sacramento for a 2-day junior tour event Sept. 9-10, shooting 83 the first day and following it up with a 77.
Hickam says golf is a unique sport because, unlike team sports, golf makes her depend on just herself.
“Being on the high school team is always fun, but being an individual isn’t a problem for me,” Hickam mentions. “Just having yourself to depend on and not other people in a tournament doesn’t bother me. I like being an individual because that’s how I am: I’m independent.”
Aside from hanging out with her friends, working hard academically and going to the beach, the golfer has dedicated her time to practicing year-round in preparation for tournament play. In the past, Hickam competed in a Tahoe Junior Tour event where she discovered that she ranked 1,220th in the world for junior golfers. Hickam even won first place in an AT&T Pebble Beach NCGA golf tournament two weeks ago where she shot a 76.
“Lauren has been working really hard on her golf game all summer long,” CHS golf coach Ross Kroeker acknowledges. “She started playing in junior tournaments that are two-day tournaments, and they have all the top players on there so she has been competing with girls at the highest junior level, and she’s steadily shown improvement.”
With a strong grip and a good game, Hickam hopes to take golf to the next level at some point in the future. To Hickam, golf is not only the one sport she plays, but it is her life.
“I plan to play Division I college golf,” Hickam says. “I want to take it further. I even want to be a coach, and if I could be a professional, that would be awesome.”