KirkwoodGolf: Connie Jaffrey Continues Career Climb to Elite Company for K-State Women's Golf

Monday, October 30, 2017

Connie Jaffrey Continues Career Climb to Elite Company for K-State Women's Golf

By Corbin McGuire

Connie Jaffrey stared at the pillar and, more specifically, Christine Boucher's name. This was years ago when, on her first visit to K-State, Jaffrey was touring Bill Snyder Family Stadium and came across the K-State women's golf pillar in the Hall of Honor.

She read about the school records Boucher (2000-04) held and still holds, including 11 individual medals and six tournament titles, along with the program's low 18-hole and 54-hole scores.

"At that point, it wasn't really a big deal," Jaffrey recalled, "but I kind of thought, 'I want to be like her. I want to set a legacy for K-State.'"

Now a senior for the Wildcats, Jaffrey has definitely left her mark right next to Boucher's as one of the best to ever tee it up for K-State.

Jaffrey recently collected her fourth collegiate victory and the second of the season, joining Boucher as the only Wildcat to win multiple tournaments in a season.

To win the Maryb S. Kauth Invitational last week, Jaffrey posted a 9-under par 207, the second-best 54-hole score in K-State history behind Boucher's 204 in 2002. To open the tournament, Jaffrey matched her career-low round with a 6-under par 66, which she shot in her first tournament win of this season. The pair of 66s pushed Jaffrey's career total for rounds below 70 to six, two more than Boucher.

Head coach Kristi Knight, in her 23rd season at K-State, said while the playing styles of Jaffrey and Boucher differ, there are plenty of similarities between the two.

"Both of them have all of the shots, they're highly competitive," Knight said, "and they thrive being in the heat of things."

Jaffrey, from Kilwinning, Scotland, refers back to her first few major junior tournament victories as the starting point for developing a blueprint for her success in college.

The first was the Scottish Under-14 Girls Championship in 2010, not long after her personal coach Adam Hunter, a former pro and renowned instructor, was diagnosed with leukemia. Hunter died about a year later, and less than two weeks after that Jaffrey went on to win the Scottish Junior Champion of Champions.

"He was an inspiration for me," Jaffrey said of Hunter. "That situation and feeling kind of passed on to other tournaments I've won."

One lesson Jaffrey said she would never forget from Hunter is to stay patient on the course. Both Knight and George Boswell, Jaffrey's personal coach back in Scotland, have reinforced his message.

Knight said Jaffrey's ability to stay poised and handle adversity has been at an all-time high this fall, evidenced by her stroke average of 71.33 that ranks in a tie for 43rd nationally and would shatter the K-State single-season record.

Specifically, Knight pointed to a three-hole stretch in the second round of Jaffrey's last victory that saw her post bogey, double-bogey and bogey on holes 5-7.

"She came up to the eighth tee and was pretty quiet. I could tell she wasn't happy," said Knight, who reminded Jaffrey to stay patient. "I gave her the yardage, she picked a club and made a really good swing and looked at me with a smile on her face."

Jaffrey birdied that hole and collected four more on the back nine. The next day, she bounced back from back-to-back bogeys on her final nine with four pars and a birdie to claim the tournament title.

"That's her. That doesn't have anything to do with me or anybody else. That's just her trusting her ability. I think that's been the difference," Knight said. "It doesn't mean she likes to make a double but she's developed the ability to accept it, understand it's done and that she's good enough that she's going to have opportunities to get shots back."

More than anything, Jaffrey said this season has been about confidence and every part of her game coming together.

"The last few years have been kind of like a jigsaw and all the pieces were just blowing about, and some of the pieces fit together eventually throughout the years," she said. "Then this year, it feels like it's almost complete. Everything is going the right direction."

With only six guaranteed tournaments left in her career, including the Trinity Forest Invitational that starts on Monday in Dallas, Texas, Jaffrey wants to take advantage of every opportunity. Ideally, she would like to win three more tournaments and break one of Boucher's records, but she knows that would take an incredible stretch of high-level golf.

"I don't think that will happen," laughed Jaffrey, who is double majoring in psychology and sociology with intentions of finding a career in forensic psychology or criminology. That is if a professional golf career does not pan out.

Either way, Jaffrey's play has placed her in rare company at K-State. Before long, her picture might end up on the program's pillar at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, right next to Boucher. She's certainly earned it.

"I feel like I've let a good image for K-State women's golf," Jaffrey said. "I just try my best. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. But I've been lucky enough to win four already. I think that's something to put in the memory box."