Karen Fredgaard caps off historic season at NCAA Championships
Capping off a historic season with an appearance in the 2021 NCAA Championships, sophomore Karen Fredgaard represented the Houston women’s golf team as an individual en route to a tie for 28th place with a total score of 292.
Fredgaard’s appearance at the 2021 NCAA Championships marked the third time the UH program had an athlete qualify to compete in the biggest stage in collegiate women’s golf.
“I felt great going in,” Fredgaard said. “We couldn’t play at regionals, so I didn’t really know what to expect from this tournament outside of what we had practiced and worked on before that. I was pretty excited to go out and see what would happen, but I felt ready for sure.”
The reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year got off to a rough start at the tournament after posting a first-round score of 77 and sitting in a tie for 87th-place.
“After the first round I was just trying to get back to the basics and the gameplan that I had set with coach [Gerrod Chadwell],” Fredgaard said. “Mentally I was just thinking that it is possible to bounce back from that round knowing it didn’t completely take me out of the picture.”
A bounce-back second-round score of 70 propelled Fredgaard up the individual leaderboards and into a tie for 34th-place, putting her back in the mix for final round contention heading into the third round.
Fredgaard posted a second sub-par score in as many days with a 71 in the third round to boost her into a tie for 16th-place and earning qualification for the tournament’s final round, where she finished the tournament with a score of 74.
For Fredgaard, competing on a national stage came as a challenge of its own.
“There was a lot of pressure because I knew that the best players were going to be there,” Fredgaard said. “I knew that a lot of eyes were going to be on me and knowing that I was not with my team, I felt that they were counting on me to play for them too in such a big event.”
The UH women’s golf team failed to qualify as a team for the NCAA Championships, yet Fredgaard’s ranking as the No. 5 player in the nation according to Golfstat, earned her an invitation to compete as an individual.
“It was a little bit difficult, I’m not going to lie,” Fredgaard said. “Most of the other players there were with their teams at least and I am very used to playing with the team. Not having the support there from my teammates and the girls was a little weird but once we started, I just tried to focus on the game and playing each round.”
Fredgaard wrapped up her sophomore season with full support from Chadwell, who made the trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, to watch Fredgaard compete and offer coaching tips.
“Well (Chadwell) is such a great coach, a big supporter for all of us and he’s just there for everybody,” Fredgaard said. “Having him at Augusta and at the nationals was a really big help, just looking at every shot and being the support that he is.”