What a start to the season by this month’s featured player, Maria Fassi! Born in Pachuca, Mexico, Maria has won the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M the past two years in dominant fashion. In 2016, Fassi was the first player to capture the individual title without being on the winning team. However, that changed this year as Maria led the Arkansas Razorbacks to a 12-stroke victory, topped off by her final-round 6-under-par 66 to repeat as individual champion.
Arkansas and Maria are enjoying a strong start to the 2017-18 season, evidenced by the Razorbacks winning their opening event (shooting an NCAA record 41-under-par to do so) and Maria tying for first place. It marked the third-consecutive season Maria opened with an individual victory.
We spoke with Maria shortly after her win at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M.
What is your favorite food?
My mom’s homemade pizza
What is your favorite emoji?
Probably the fire emoji or the heart eyes face. I use these two for everything!!! I love the fire one because I feel it fits for almost all situations, and the heart eyes face because I don’t like to text without at least one emoji in my texts and I feel like this emoji makes the texts nicer.
What is your favorite type of social media?
Instagram… follow me @mariafassi1
Who is your favorite golfer?
Lorena Ochoa, she’s someone I’ve looked up to for a very long time. I have had the privilege of meeting her, and she is an even better person than she is a golfer and that says a lot.
What is your favorite song?
Mi Primer Millon by Bacilos
What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas, it’s the time a year where we can get together (my family and I) as we all play competitive sports so it is hard to have vacations at the same time. But during this time, we all gather and spend quality time together.
How do you spend your free time outside of golf?
With school, golf, and workouts, I don’t have a lot of free time. But when I do, I like to do something outdoors with friends/family like going for a hike or going to the pool. And when it’s cold outside, I love to watch shows on Netflix. I’m currently watching The Blacklist, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder.
Who is your biggest role model and why?
My dad, he is who I want to be when I’m old. He’s had to go through really tough things to be who he is today and I admire his dedication, perseverance and, most of all, how humble he is.
How/Why did you start playing golf?
My two older brothers played when they were younger, and I liked going out to the range with them, so one day the head pro at our golf course asked me if I wanted to try and I did. I guess the rest is history.
What is one thing that not many people know about you?
I have a tattoo on my left foot
What was your favorite golf tournament you have ever played in so far?
The Youth Olympic Games, Nanjing 2014. I was able to experience the Olympic spirit for the first time, and it is one of the most memorable experiences in my life. Sharing with athletes from all over the globe and getting to know about different cultures and backgrounds was really nice.
Do you set goals for yourself for the season? If so, what are they? What are your team’s goals?
– 3.5+ GPA
– Win at least 3 team and individual tournaments
– Be in the Top 20 of the WAGR (World Amateur Golf Rankings)
– Top 5 on NCAA Rankings
– Be an All-American
Our team goal is to win an NCAA Championship and the SEC Championship. We want to be a team that is respected by others not only because of our performance, but because of how we conduct ourselves as competitors, too.
How do you balance the life of a student-athlete? What do you find the most difficult?
I try to be really organized and get things done ahead of time, but that is also the most difficult thing to do since we travel so much. I believe the key is being disciplined to do the work you have to when you have to do it.
How did you decide to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks?
Gaby Lopez and Regina Placencia were here when I was looking at schools, and they kept telling me how much they were enjoying their time here. Gaby helped me arrange a visit and then I was able to see it through my eyes, and I realized that I belonged here. It was a different feeling from all the other schools I visited. Arkansas just felt like home.
Currently ranked No. 1, your team has won back-to-back events to start the season. Did your team do anything differently to prepare for this season? If so, what changes were made?
I don’t think we have changed a lot. I believe that all the hard work and dedication is finally paying off. Our team chemistry is in a great place right now and I feel like when we all come together as one, great things can be achieved.
Congratulations on your second win at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M. You stayed atop the leaderboard all three days and had an exceptional final round with 7 birdies and only 1 bogey. You are also coming off an individual and team win at the Mason Rudolph Championship. What were you feeling going into the week? Did you feel any pressure being the defending champ or coming off a win?
My confidence level is really high right now, and I feel like I’m doing a great job in all areas of my game and I’m doing the right things to keep them getting better. So, this week wasn’t any different in terms of pressure. I was really excited to be able to play as the defending champion at a tournament like this one, and I knew that if I wanted to win again, I had to get that thought out of my mind and just play my game and trust my game plan.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring female golfers who are just starting to play the game?
I always say that patience is the most important thing to play golf (at any level). I think that they need to stay true to who they are and work hard, and I promise that sooner or later it is all going to work out, but you must be willing to wait patiently.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
I’d like to thank you all for all you do for golf especially for women’s golf. I know how much work you all do, and I’m grateful for all of it. Go Hogs!
It is no surprise that the junior is currently ranked number one on the ANNIKA Award Watchlist. It seems she is already extremely close to reaching her goals for the 2017-2018 season. She is currently ranked 22nd in World Amateur Golf Rankings and already has two wins under her belt both individually and as a team, having only played in three total events. This past weekend, the Razorbacks finished fourth in North Carolina, but are still ranked number one in the Golfweek rankings. Maria finished T11. We’ll be watching Maria and Arkansas the rest of the year with great interest! Good luck to Maria and the Razorbacks on the rest of their season!