Lauren Tibbets putts during the Butler Fall Invitational last year. Tibbets is the only senior on the Butler women’s golf team. Collegian file photo.
KELLY HALLINAN | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
It all started when her dad wanted someone to play golf with. He made sure Lauren Tibbets and her sister always had a club in their hands, hoping they would like playing golf as much as he did. To say she liked playing was an understatement. Tibbets loved the game, and it helped that she was exceptionally good at it.
Tibbets, from Converse, Indiana, started golfing seriously in the eighth grade. Golf was unpopular in her hometown, so she considered herself a “big fish in a small pond.” Throughout high school, Tibbets won match after match and continued to win at tournaments over the summer. She started to realize she could pursue golf in college and as a career.
“Butler was the perfect combination of golf, location and major,” Tibbets said. “It was one of two or three colleges in Indiana that had my major, actuarial science. It was a good distance from home, and it had a golf team that I thought I could contribute to and grow at.”
While attending Butler, Tibbets has successfully managed to balance golfing with her schoolwork. Head coach Bill Mattingly described Tibbets as “the ultimate student-athlete.”
Tibbets holds a 4.0 GPA and is a 2018 CoSIDA Academic All-American, which recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.
“Lauren is also the easiest person I have ever had to coach,” Mattingly said. “She is the hardest practicer I have ever had. She is very focused and very disciplined, and she comes to practice with a plan in mind, and she proceeds through it.”
This focus has ultimately been key to Tibbets’s success in her career.
One of Tibbets’s biggest accomplishments, which she aims to repeat this season, was winning the 2017 Big East Championship.
Tibbets didn’t have high expectations heading into the tournament.
“There were some really solid players in our conference, and I thought that everything was going to have to be perfect,” she said.
To prepare for the tournament, Tibbets focused on hitting her drivers straight and working on her short-game.
“It was such a surprise but so awesome as well to see that I can keep playing under pressure with a lead which I had not done in college so far,” she said.
Tibbets has also found success outside of Butler.
At the 2018 Indiana PGA Women’s Open Championship in Yorktown, Indiana, Tibbets shot 71 both days and had a come-from-behind win which came down to the last couple of holes.
It was the first time she had played at The Players Club at Woodland Trails since high school.
“It was cool to see the change in my game and how that applied to the course,” Tibbets said. “They always keep it in great condition, and I think that really helped me play steady, consistent golf. It was really fun. I played really well which was encouraging going into this fall season.”
As the only senior on the team, Tibbets has also stepped into a mentorship role.
“Lauren is always the first one to ask how I am doing at practice or how my game is going,” said freshman teammate Alexis Stuckey. “She is probably one of the most positive girls on the team and always looks at the bright side of things.”
Stuckey said she believes Lauren has what it takes to win the Big East a second time.
“She definitely has the will power and determination to win again,” Stuckey said.
After Butler, Tibbets said she hopes her hard work and determination will lead to a professional golfing career.
“It will depend on how this season goes and if I continue to play at this level and compete with the people who I am playing against,” Tibbets said. “Also, if everything perfectly aligns, and I can find somewhere to play and the resources to pursue that dream.”
Follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellyhals