Sophomore Unseats Three-time State Champ Jacque Galloway
Sophia Zamarripa of Sandia High School is your 2019 New Mexico 5A girls golf champion following an upset of a three-time girls champion Jacque Galloway
Zamarripa, a 16-year-old who will be a junior in the fall, posted a two-day score of 6-over at the Canyon Club at Four Hills May 13-14, to finish four strokes ahead of Galloway.
Three things you should know about Sophia Zamarripa: She’s a weightlifter who can clean-and-jerk 123 pounds and she wants to be an orthodontist.
Oh, and she puts the ball out there between 250 and 260 yards off the tee.
“It was a gorgeous day both days,” said Sophia Zamarripa, who carded scores of 77 and 73 under sunny skies with little wind.
“I was in disbelief,” she told KRQE-TV Channel 13 shortly after her win.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s just I’ve wanted it so badly this whole season, and just knowing that I finally accomplished it is just awesome. It’s just a really good feeling.”
Zamarripa has played golf since age 10. She hopes to play Division I or II NCAA golf in college. Although it’s too soon to shop for schools, her skills likely will be looked at by potential coaches as early as this summer.
She’s scheduled to play in the New Mexico Junior America Cup qualifier at New Mexico Tech in Socorro this weekend; the DFW Elite Lonestar Showcase in Burleson, Texas, June 3-4; and the Junior PGA National Qualifier June 10-11 at the UNM Championship Golf Course.
Zamarripa’s Game, Not Score is Her Focus
Both Sophia Zamarripa and her coach at Sandia, Rich McConnell, attribute her state championship win to focus. Unaware of where she stood in relation to Galloway, Zamarripa concentrated on her own game. She made three birdies in her final six holes. Her upset win turned back Galloway her bid for a fourth consecutive 5A girls golf title.
“I was not expecting to win,” she told KRQE. “I just wanted to play solid golf whether I won or not.”
In fact, her preference while on the course is not to know where she stands against the field. “I didn’t want to know how she [Galloway] played,” she said. I just focus on my own game, not even on my own score.”
She carries a 4-handicap index and a 4.025 grade-point average, which is above a perfect 4.0. She’s been a member of the Key Club. Recently, in a team-building exercise, she and a group of other students cooked for 200 Sandia students over two days.
Her inspiration and the reason she wants to be an orthodontist is, in fact, her own orthodontist who became a mentor as she was growing up.
Her strength as a golfer is her distance off the tee, which allows her to hit wedges into most par-4 greens while competitors are hitting mid- and long irons. “I can dial in my wedges,” she said. Her weaknesses lie in her long irons and putting, both of which she is working on, she said.
Dan Vukelich, editor of New Mexico Golf News, is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Golf Travel Writers of America. Reach him at email@example.com