MASON CITY, Iowa - Mason City alumna and current University of Northern Iowa sophomore Sydney Eaton had an undeniably great season on the golf course. KIMT had a chance to talk with her over the weekend about her passion for the game resulting in successes, and how she manages life off the course.
"When I'm on the course, I don't like to know where I stand compared to the rest of the field. I kind of just like to do my thing."
"That statement held especially true for Sydney Eaton at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament last week in Indiana. Eaton was at the top of the leader board at the end of day one, a goal of hers since before the tournament began.
"I went into conference telling myself my goal is to win and didn't want to settle for anything less than that," Eaton said.
That goal would be put to the test for the sophomore on the final day of play. She would go on to tie for first resulting in a playoff round to determine who was the outright champ.
"I ended up having to wait about an hour and a half or so before I could even do that playoff. It didn't end the way I wanted it to, but it was my first playoff experience and it was really fun," said Eaton.
Part of what made the journey so much fun was the support of her teammates such as Emily Snelling (Clear Lake) and Sarah McMichael (Nashua-Plainfield) who were at one-time arch rivals on the course.
"Specifically Emily Snelling from Clear Lake. We have been each other's main competition since we were about eight years old and to finally be able to compete on a team together is awesome, we love it."
Perhaps the most prominent driving force in Eaton's life right now is her mother. Even while battling ovarian cancer, she was at the MVC tournament walking all 36 holes right by her daughter's side. As a college student being away from home, Sydney says some days are harder than others.
"It was a big adjustment getting into what college studying was like was different, learning how to deal with everything outside of that - being away from home, being away from my mom...it was tough."
Tough times that serve as a life lesson and reminder to keep things in perspective.
"The biggest thing for me is realizing that when I have a bad shot it doesn't matter," Eaton said. "There's worse things going on. I'm lucky to be able to play these beautiful golf courses. I'm so blessed to have all these supporting people around me that love me and come out and support me."
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