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Daniel Faccini
Columbia, 2019 Alumni 

Daniel Faccini represented Columbia in the 2019 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. Daniel attended high school at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida and was the No. 1-ranked junior golfer in Columbia. He furthered his education on a golf scholarship to Barry University in Miami, Florida where he notched eleven top-20 finishes, four of which he finished top-10.

The Interview

The Spirit: You immediately impacted Barry and started almost every event since your freshman year. How were you so prepared heading into college golf? 

Daniel Faccini: Initially, it all started since I finished my last year of high school at IMG. This gave me a solid basis when college golf started. My senior year of high school year was crucial for me. At that moment, I was not playing as much golf as I did at IMG. IMG impacted me because it gave me various tools to use and get better, from psychological training to physical training every day of the week. After a year of hard work at IMG, I started to see results in tournaments, and I chose to play college golf at Barry University.

The Spirit: What has representing your country in amateur golf meant to you? 

Faccini: Since I first started representing Colombia in international tournaments, getting nervous was part of it. This meant I cared about the position I was in, and it was vital for me to perform well. I have always thought that anything you try to do in life, whether it’s golf or not, you should try the best you can. It means a lot to me to represent Colombia and wear the uniform with our national colors. It also means you have earned a spot for it after years of hard work and sacrifice. 

The Spirit: Who was your biggest role model growing up? 

Faccini: I would say that I always looked up to Tiger Woods while growing up. But the most significant role model I have is Camilo Villegas. The first Colombian to win on the PGA tour and be ranked top 10 globally for several years.

The Spirit: You were one of the top golfers in Columbia and the world at the time you committed to Barry. What made you choose Barry? 

Faccini: To be honest with you, older friends from Colombia helped me throughout the process. After receiving advice from peers, I created a list with all the pros and cons of the offers I got. With it, Barry ended up being the best choice. The key factors were location, coach, schedule. The area is close to Colombia, a very Latin city, and we can practice year-round. Coach Stobs is a rigorous person, and it helped me grow in my five years at Barry. The schedule we played in had some pure golf courses and great competition with other universities. 

The Spirit: Where does The Spirit International rank in the team events you have competed in? 

Faccini: The Spirit International is easily one of the best events I have ever played. I look forward to going back to play that unique golf course.

The Spirit: What was your favorite part about The Spirit? 

Faccini: The activities at night made it very special. We got to know other team members. Another excellent aspect of the tournament was staying at Camp Olympia.  

The Spirit: What was your favorite off-course activity at The Spirit? 

Faccini: My favorite activity at The Spirit was playing the Par 3 golf course called The Needler. If a person who makes a hole in one, they receive a Rolex. 

Kaitlyn Papp
USA, 2019 Alumni 

In 2019, Kaitlyn Papp competed in The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship while playing at the University of Texas. She charted 19 career top-10 finishes in college and currently holds the Texas school record for career stroke average at 71.91. Papp was a three-time Arnold Palmer Cup team member and participated in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019. She equally excelled in the classroom, making Big 12 Academic Honor four times while at Texas. Here is The Spirit’s Q & A with Texas Ex and now professional golfer, Kaitlyn Papp.

The Interview

The Spirit: What makes representing the United States in team-format special? 

Papp: It is always an honor to represent your country but being on a team makes the moment even more fun and memorable. We all create a special bond.

The Spirit: How did 9th in the U.S. Open in 2020 help your confidence as you are on the brink of turning professional? 

Papp: The 2020 U.S. Open was a big confidence boost for me. I always knew my ability was there but being able to bring it all together in a major was really meaningful for me. 

The Spirit: Did the U.S. Open taking place in your home state enhance that experience? 

Papp: Even though there were not any fans allowed in 2020, many residents who lived on the golf course were cheering for me and yelling “Hook’em” in the fairways, so I felt really comfortable. 

The Spirit: Did you always dream of going to University of Texas in your hometown of Austin? 

Papp: I did not grow up at University of Texas fan, as the majority of my family went to University of Florida. When my family and I moved to Austin in 2014, I knew I didn’t want to leave anytime soon and Texas happened to be a great fit. 

The Spirit: What type of work ethic goes into holding University of Texas’ school record for career stroke average? 

Papp: I have always worked hard on my golf game throughout high school and college with the goal of being on the LPGA Tour. This kind of goal has motivated me for many years. I want to improve all aspects of my game. 

The Spirit: What was it like getting the initial call to play the Arnold Palmer Cup? After now having represented the U.S. in that prestigious event, what was the experience of play in late Arnold Palmer’s tournament? 

Papp: I remember in 2018 (my first Palmer Cup) when I got a call that I was the final pick for Team USA, I cried tears of joy and was happy my hard work paid off. Playing in the Palmer Cup was a lot of fun because we were representing not only the USA but also Mr. Palmer’s legacy. The format of the event allows the whole team to come together. 

The Spirit: Who was your biggest role model growing up? 

Papp: My biggest role model growing up was Tim Tebow. I grew up a big Florida football fan and his hard work and character inspired me. 

The Spirit: What was your favorite aspect of The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship? 

Papp: I really enjoyed being around my teammates and our captain, Stacy Lewis. As a team we all got along well and learned a lot from her. 

The Spirit: What was your favorite off-course activity at The Spirit? 

Papp: My favorite off-course activity was The Spirit Games! All of the activities were fun and it added another element of competition to the week.

The Spirit: It is very rare when a player from the same state and college are selected to play in the same team event to represent their country. At the 2019 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship, you represented the United States women’s team, and fellow Longhorn Cole Hammer represented the United States men’s team. How special was it to share that moment with a fellow Texan?

Papp: Being selected to Team USA that year with Cole was really special. I have known him since our AJGA days and become good friends. We have played similar events and were representing the USA and Longhorn nation that week which was pretty cool. 

Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira
Argentina| 2019 Alumni

Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira was the top golfer in Argentina and climbing the junior golf rankings when he arrived to Texas Christian University in 2019. Before stepping foot on a college campus, Fernandez De Oliveira finished 19th in the Latin America Amateur Championship and made the cut at the Open de Argentina, the most prestigious professional tournament in Argentina.

The Interview

As a freshman at TCU, he played a crucial role in the lineup, starting in eight events. Fernandez De Oliveira had three Top-20 finishes and completed his freshman year with a 72.57 scoring average. That same year (2019) he represented Argentina in the Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. The following year, Fernandez De Oliveira was academic All-Big 12 and fired 14 rounds of par or better. He closed the 20-21 season with a bang, placing 9th at the Big 12 Championship. After his sophomore season, Fernandez De Oliveira decided he would take his talents to the University of Arkansas. The Spirit caught up with him for a Q&A following the 2021 NCAA National Championship and qualifying for the U.S. Amateur. 

 The Spirit: What is the biggest challenge of collegiate golf?

Mateo Fernandez De Oliveira: The biggest challenge is being a student-athlete. It’s difficult to understand how hard it is to manage your time between classes, tournaments, school work, team meetings, and workouts without the experience of being a student-athlete.

The Spirit: Do you plan on turning professional after college?

Fernandez De Oliveira: Yes, the plan is to turn professional right after college.

The Spirit: How important is it for federations to continue to support team play around the world?

Fernandez De Oliveira: It is super important, and it is a massive challenge for countries nowadays. Fortunately, Argentina is still supporting us as they have throughout my years of representing the country.

The Spirit: What have your National Championship experiences been like?

Fernandez De Oliveira: They have been an honor for me. Since I was a kid, I dreamed of representing my country. To have the opportunity to represent in different tournaments is a privilege. I’ve made so many memories that will last a lifetime.

The Spirit: You just transferred from TCU to the University of Arkansas. What are you looking forward to on your next journey?

Fernandez De Oliveira: I am looking forward to a great time with all of my friends there. We will have a good team with my other guys from South America, and I will have my girlfriend there. They are going to be two great years.

The Spirit: Where does the Spirit International rank in the team events you have played?

Fernandez De Oliveira: It’s hard to rank the tournaments. But, I would put The Spirit as the most fun event. It’s such a great atmosphere within the players, on and off the course.

The Spirit: How did The Spirit International prepare you for the next level of golf?

Fernandez De Oliveira: The Spirit was a great experience in all aspects. It was an excellent competition played in an exciting format. It challenged me to play the course more aggressively, which was my major takeaway from the week.

The Spirit: What did it mean to represent your country in an Olympic like competition at Whispering Pines?

Fernandez De Oliveira: Playing the event was even more special because the team was more united. It was an honor and a pleasure.

The Spirit: What was your favorite off-course activity in The Spirit International?

Fernandez De Oliveira: The Spirit games at Camp Olympia during the nights. They were super fun and engaging.

 

Pauline Roussin-Bouchard
France, 2019 Alumni

Before attending the University of South Carolina, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard was already a veteran in the world of amateur golf. She was selected to represent Europe in the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup and won the 2019 Italian International Ladies Amateur. She was ready to make an immediate impact when she arrived in Columbia, SC. She was first-team All-American and recorded the best scoring average of any freshman in the program’s history (71.27). She was also selected to play the Palmer Cup following her freshman season. 

The Interview

Roussin-Bouchard’s sophomore year saw her rise to greater heights. She won four events, with the last coming at the 2021 SEC Championship, shooting 67-67-65 for 199 total, which is an SEC Championship record.

The Spirit caught up with Roussin-Bouchard to discuss the greatness of international team-style golf events, how she stayed sharp over the COVID-19 pandemic and her success at the University of South Carolina.

The Spirit: How early in your golf career did you know you wanted to come to the United States to play collegiately?

Pauline Roussin-Bouchard: I was around 14. French players were coming back from the states telling me about their experience. My decision came right after that.

The Spirit: Was the 2016 Junior Ryder Cup in Minnesota your first event in the states? How exciting was the process of being selected to play the most prestigious junior match play team event?

Roussin-Bouchard: It was my first event in the United States. It was awesome to play for Europe and represent more than just my country.  

The Spirit: What made you choose South Carolina?

Roussin-Bouchard: The entire golf program and the school. The golf program stood out to be because of the coaches. South Carolina’s golf facilities have over 17 acres of green, lush fairway. It is paradise. Off the course, I fell in love with the school itself and life in Columbia, SC.

The Spirit: Was it tough to get acclimated to life in the United States? 

Roussin-Bouchard: Nope! I was a fish in the water.

The Spirit: You made an immediate impact as a freshman at South Carolina, and you had the lowest scoring average out of any freshman who’s played at South Carolina (71.27). Does that speak to how seasoned you already were in the world of amateur golf? Most junior golfers from the states only play junior events, but you had already won events like the Italian International and the Grand Prix?

Roussin-Bouchard: Before college, I competed many tournaments with fantastic fields filled with players from all over Europe. When I got to the states, I was already so experienced in national events. Since I loved what I was doing in South Carolina, it helped me vastly improve.

The Spirit: It’s easier to settle into an atmosphere you like, isn’t it?

Roussin-Bouchard: Exactly. It was very similar to the rhythm of life I used to have in France. I’ve never had a hard time waking up early to go work out, school, practice, or taking care of my studies. I already understood how to handle all of it before I arrived. It made everything perfect.

The Spirit: How were you able to maintain the form you had in 2019-20 during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Roussin-Bouchard: I went home immediately after they made the announcement that the season would be canceled. I didn’t stop practicing or working out when I got home. I was lucky enough to have my boyfriend, Julian Sale, who is also on the French national team. We played together at The Spirit. We were motivating each other throughout the entire pandemic. That helped a lot. We had the chance to play a couple of tournaments in Europe together. It allowed us to stay competitive.

The Spirit: That seems like the most normalcy you could ask for under the circumstances of the pandemic. Did it feel like a good time to regroup and continue to improve on the technical side of your game?

Roussin-Bouchard: It was all about accepting the circumstances because it’s something we could not control. We were going where we could play. It was different than what we were supposed to do, but we gained a new experience out of it.

The Spirit: You picked up right where you left off when you got back, winning three events during the regular season and then winning the SEC championship in historic fashion. How were you able to break the scoring record at the 2021 SEC Championship shooting 17-under on the week?

Roussin-Bouchard: Whenever I’m in South Carolina, I always want to get better. I never think about all the records to break. I am just eager to improve every single part of my game. I’m not afraid to make slight changes that make a significant impact. It all paid off. Both of my coaches in South Carolina and France helped a lot. It was a strong, stricter environment that allowed me to get better and be focused.

The Spirit: How important is it for federations worldwide to continue to support international team competition?

Roussin-Bouchard: It’s huge. Golf is a very individual sport, and whenever you get to play with people from different countries, it’s a very special experience and so enriching. I think it’s very important to have moment in a golf career.

The Spirit: It doesn’t seem like golfers get enough chances to play in a team setting?

Roussin-Bouchard: It’s so different than playing for yourself. Even playing for my country versus playing for my university is different. At the Palmer Cup, I was representing the entire world.

The Spirit: What has been your favorite team event of your career?

Roussin-Bouchard: The Palmer Cup. You have the entire world behind you. It’s very special for both your country and college. Team events in college are amazing as well. But when you get to play in the Palmer Cup for the International team, it’s another level. The International team is made up of 23 players from all over the world. There is a different language and different culture. We are all just playing to win and to beat the United States. The atmosphere that weekend is unbelievable.

The Spirit: What was the process of getting selected to represent France in the 2019 Spirit International Amateur Championship? 

Roussin-Bouchard: I loved it. I talked about the Palmer Cup as a team event but representing France at The Spirit was one of the best tournaments I’ve ever played.

The Spirit: Will the Evian Championship be your first major?

Roussin-Bouchard: No, it’s going to be my third. I played the Evian Championship in 2019 and the U.S. Women’s Open in 2020.

The Spirit: What did you learn from those?

Roussin-Bouchard: I learned a lot in my first two majors. They were so different. Playing Evian in France with French fans around is very different from playing in a U.S. Open. Since I played in the U.S. Open during COVID-19 when fans weren’t allowed, both experiences were tremendous for my future, and I learned a lot. I still am. Three majors won’t be enough to change that.

The Spirit: Who has been the most influential person in your golf career?

Roussin-Bouchard: My family. I’m leading what we call the “family project,” and they are my biggest fans. We are all very close.    

Aaron Terrazas
Mexico, 2019 Alumni

Aaron Terrazas has always represented his home country to the best of his ability. Before representing Mexico in the 2019 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship and his stellar college career, Terrazas was the No.1 ranked player in Mexico and won the 2016 Mexico Amateur. He also finished in the Top 10 at the 2013 United States Junior Amateur. 

The Interview

Aaron Terrazas has always represented his home country to the best of his ability. Before representing Mexico in the 2019 Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship and his stellar college career, Terrazas was the No.1 ranked player in Mexico and won the 2016 Mexico Amateur. He also finished in the Top 10 at the 2013 United States Junior Amateur. After his first collegiate season at the University of Oklahoma, Terrazas decided to transfer to the University of Texas-El Paso. He maintained the second-best scoring average on the team as a sophomore (72.35). Terrazas made another leap during his junior year in the 2017-18 season. He finished in the Top 10 once and Top 20 in four events.

 Terrazas blossomed during his senior year at UTEP (2018-19). He had the best scoring average on the team (71.5) and placed in the Top 10 six times. He won his first two collegiate events at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate and the Pepsi-Cola Classic. The Spirit caught up with Aaron to discuss his successful amateur career and what he has learned as a young professional golfer. 

 The Spirit: How did the Spirit International prepare you for the next level of golf? 

Aaron Terrazas: The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship prepared me in a way where I can compete at the highest level possible but still have fun. 

The Spirit: What does it mean to represent your country in Olympic-style competition? 

Terrazas: Representing my country at any event will always be the greatest honor as an athlete. 

The Spirit: What is the most significant change from amateur to professional golf?

Terrazas: The biggest change that I have faced in my professional career has been the amount of traveling. You have to manage your energy when playing six to eight weeks in a row. 

The Spirit: What guided your decision to further your education on a golf scholarship to the University of Texas at El Paso after spending your freshman year at Oklahoma? 

Terrazas: I decided to transfer to the University of Texas at El Paso because I didn’t get enough playing time at the previous university I was attending. UTEP allowed me to compete regularly which I will always be grateful for. Coach Scott Lieberwirth helped me a lot during my college years. 

The Spirit: Where does the Spirit International rank in the team events you have played? 

Terrazas: Second after the World Amateur Championship. The World Amateur Championship is a stressful and more competitive environment. At The Spirit International Amateur Championship, there is still a high level of competition; however, you have a lot more fun at the Spirit, and that is what makes it unique. 

The Spirit: Besides the pureness of Whispering Pines and the level of competition at The Spirit, what off-course activities made this event unique? 

Terrazas: My favorite activity outside of the tournament was the two-day Spirit games. Such a solid event.