Christine Wolf playing in U.S. Women's Open

Christine Wolf playing in U.S. Women's Open

July 6th, 2011 by Kelley Smiddie in Sports - Golf

UTC's Christine Wolf practices putting at the UTC practice facility on Hickory Valley Road. Staff File Photo

The feelings of nervousness haven't hit Christine Wolf yet.

"I'm sure they'll come," she said.

The nerves should be fully on edge at about 3 p.m. Thursday, which is about three minutes before she's set to take her first swing in the 66th U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at The Broadmoor East Course in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Wolf is a 22-year-old from Igls, Austria, who recently graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The two-time All-Southern Conference performer became the first from the Mocs program to earn a spot in a U.S. Women's Open field when she tied for third in a 36-hole qualifying tournament in May at the Deerwood Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.

"I'll have my coach there to calm me," Wolf said. "Mainly I'm going to try and have a good time."

UTC coach Colette Murray said she planned to be at the tournament regardless, but Wolf wanted to make sure. That's why she asked if she would caddie for her.

"I'll do it in a heartbeat," Murray said of her response. "I know her game, and I know her. She knows that."

Wolf traveled to the site of the U.S. Women's Open from Bandon, Ore., where she competed last week in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links tournament. She finished in a tie for third after two rounds of stroke play and advanced to the round of 16 in match play. She's one of 25 amateurs in the Open.

"I've been hitting the ball well for the last few weeks. If I chip and putt well, I should be OK," Wolf said.

The Broadmoor East's 7,047-yard, par-71 layout is the longest in U.S. Women's Open history, surpassing the 6,789-yard setup in 2008 at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.

Wolf's ball-striking will be tested this week, but Murray isn't overly concerned about the length of the course. It's located more than 6,000 feet above sea level, where the thinner air should allow for additonal distance on shots.

"If she can hole some putts," Murray said, "I think she'll be playing on the weekend."

Wolf's support system at the tournament over what she hopes is the next four days will include her parents, Andrea and Markus, who saw her play in the SoCon tournament but don't often get the chance to make trips to the U.S. Another will be Australian Emma de Groot, the other cornerstone of the UTC program that Murray started four years ago.

ESPN2 will provide Thursday and Friday coverage of the event before giving way to NBC on the weekend. International outlets will provide coverage to more than 50 other countries.

Murray, who is from Scotland, is hoping to get some of that worldwide TV time for Wolf's UTC bag she'll be carrying.

"She's ready," Murray said. "She's in the right frame of mind. It's really going to be a special occasion, most of all for Christine. That's who it's all about."