Quintessence of a hole-in-one: Penttila achieves greatness

Emily+Pentilla

Emily Pentilla

Samantha Shafia, Associate Sports Editor

In the world of golf, most only dream of the opportunity to break records; however, senior golfer Emily Penttila has consistently strived for greatness not only on the golf course but also in her scholastic and extracurricular endeavors.

All the way from Helsinki, Finland, Penttila began playing golf as an activity to do with her family, especially her sister.

“I started playing when I was 11,” Penttila said. “My sister and I just wanted to try it. We learned at the same time, and we got some friends on the golf course right away. There was a good group of people to practice with.”

Even though her sister stopped playing shortly after, Penttila stuck with the unpredictable and mentally tough game she enjoyed from the moment she began swinging her club. As she became better and better, she searched for avenues to play on a more competitive level in her college career and to continue to blossom as a player.

“I felt like [Tulane] was the place for me to grow as a player and have everything that I needed,” Penttila said.

Pentilla worked hard every single day in practice, diligently practicing her long game, short game and technique in order to rise above the competition.

“She is probably the most technical college golfers I have ever seen, and I have been coaching for 13 years,” head coach Lorne Don said.

All of this hard work started paying off as a freshman when Penttila broke the school record for the lowest game average by a freshman for a single season with a 74.15.

Her sophomore and junior accomplishments include winning the C-USA and Louisiana Golfer of the Year honors as a sophomore and the All-American Athletic Conference and All-Louisiana first team as a junior.

This year at the Hurricane Invitational in Miami, Florida, Penttila finished second in the tournament and broke another school record by completing the lowest 54-hole score. She now has set that record to 9-under-par.

Due to her performance in this same tournament, she also ranked second in Tulane history for the lowest score for a round of golf during which she shot a score of 66 and hit six birdies. Because of Penttila’s stellar performance, as well as her teammates’ performances, Tulane finished fourth in this tournament, beating the fifth place team by 4 points.

Her honors do not solely relate to golf, as she has achieved the Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar award as a sophomore and junior with a 3.6 GPA.

“She really leads well by example,” Don said. “When you have players both young and old that see [her hard work], I think it just pushes everyone to be a little better.”

The positive effects of competing well in tournaments and pushing her fellow Tulane golfers to constantly aspire for greatness, as Penttila has, have had a tremendous impact on the Tulane golf team. This imprint will last for generations as she resides in the record books, most likely remaining untouched by any other women’s golfers in the near future.

At the completion of her senior year, Penttila will continue to strive for greatness as she embarks on a journey into the competitive women’s golfing world and, specifically, into the Ladies Professional Golf Tournament tournament in Europe. If it does not turn out, however, she will be able to reside with and train her poodles and make a living off of her competitive spirit and experiences at Tulane.

“She will go down as one of the best players, if not the best player, [Tulane golf] has ever had,” Don said.