Head coach Clint Wallman recaps day 1 of the Johnie Imes Invitational.
The Hoosier women's golf team continues to make strides under the direction of eighth-year head coach Clint Wallman as it works its way back among the nation's elite.
Since taking over prior to the 2004-05 season, Wallman has seen marked improvement in the program each season, going from a 10th-place finish at the Big Ten Championships in 2004, to a fourth-place showing in 2008.
Last season the Hoosiers produced a Big Ten Freshman of the Year, as well as second-team All-Big Ten honoree.
In 2010 Indiana finished fifth at the Big Ten Championships with a score of 1,205, the second-lowest score in school history at the Championships for four rounds. Senior Laura Nochta tied for seventh at the event, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors for the second-straight season. She is the fourth player under Wallman's tenure to post a top-10 finish at the event.
At the 2009 Challenge at Onion Creek, freshman Jacqueline Yanch tied the school low-round record with a 67, while Nochta, Kellye Belcher and Kate Coons all posted at least one round of 69 during the season.
Indiana was rewarded for its hard work when it earned a spot at the 2010 NCAA Central Regional, which the Hoosiers played host to at Otter Creek Golf Club in Columbus, Ind.
In 2009 the Hoosiers placed two players on the All-Big Ten second team for the first time in Wallman's tenure. Anita Gahir was honored for the second-straight season, while Nochta was a first-time pick. In 2009 Nochta also earned her first individual collegiate victory when she took the prestigious Lady Puerto Rico Classic title.
At the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown, the team shot a school-record 277 in the final round of competition and also set school records for two-round (568) and three-round (860) totals. Nochta finished the season with a stroke average of 75.58, just outside the school's top-five list. Gahir finished ninth at the Big Ten Tournament.
The Hoosiers also made their second-straight NCAA postseason appearance in 2008 with a trip to the NCAA East Regional. Gahir became the second player under Wallman's tutelage to earn All-Big Ten honors, and Lauren Harling was the individual medalist at the Mountain View Invitational, giving IU the individual winner at the event for the second-straight season. Harling's triumph, along with a third-round 68 from Gahir, allowed Indiana to pick up its second team victory in as many seasons. The team's two-round score of 586 at Mountain View ranks fifth on the all-time list, and the three-round score of 880 is third.
The first major breakthrough for Wallman and his staff came in 2007 as Indiana made its first NCAA Championships appearance since the 1997-98 season. In fact, the 06-07 season was one for the record books. Elaine Harris had a breakout season for IU, recording three top-10 finishes, including her first career victory. After opening the season with a third-place finish at the Badger Invitational, Harris tallied a school-record three-round score of 209 to take medalist honors at the Mountain View Collegiate. Included in that score was a career-best round of 69, a mark she hit three times on the season. It was her seventh-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional that was good for a spot on the All-Central Regional Team and helped lead the Hoosiers to their 10th NCAA Championship appearance in school history.
Wallman's freshman trio of Kellye Belcher, Nochta and Gahir wrapped up their first year of competition as the No. 1-ranked freshman class in the country, according to GolfStat's Freshman Class Impact Rating. The three competed in all 12 tournaments, and Belcher finished the year leading the team in scoring average (76.51). All three topped the previous school record for freshman stroke average, and Gahir was the top Indiana finisher at both the Big Ten Championships (15th) and the NCAA Championships (81st).
The team's first-place finish at the Badger Invitational marked the program's first title under Wallman and its first victory since 2004.
At the UNLV Spring Invitational, Indiana's first-round 3-under par 285 was just one shot off the program low. IU also matched that score in the second round. Its final score of 864 (285-285-294) shattered the previous program low for a three-round tournament (885), which had been set in 2003.
Over the course of the year the team recorded two of the top three single-round scores in school history, three of the top five two-round scores (including a school-record 570 at UNLV), and three of the top five three-round scores.
Competing at the NCAA Central Regional for the first time in his tenure, Wallman's crew blew through the University of Michigan Golf Course to finish fourth. It was the program's best finish at a regional since a tie for third in 1997-98.
During the 2005-06 season, numerous players on the squad made great strides under Wallman's tutelage. The Hoosiers turned in a sixth-place performance at the Big Ten Championship. Their four-round total of 1,214 was the then-fifth-best 72-hole mark in program history, and the Hoosiers also turned in the then-eighth-best 18-hole total on the second day, 292, as well as the then-10th-best 36-hole total, 592, and the then-eighth-best 54-hole mark, 893.
Basically, the numbers speak for themselves. Since taking over the program, Wallman's teams have posted 29 top-10 finishes, including 10 in 2007-08. The Hoosiers have leapt from a No. 149 ranking his first season, to 43rd nationally in 2006-07, and 46th in 2007-08.
Wallman came to IU after the 2004 campaign when he helped the University of New Mexico to back-to-back NCAA Women's Golf Tournament appearances. While at UNM, he helped the Lobos to new heights. In 2003-04, the Lobos won four regular season tournaments and were nationally ranked among the top 10 for 33 consecutive weeks, including a lofty No. 3 ranking in March 2004.
Prior to his tenure at New Mexico, Wallman served as the teaching professional at Indian Canyon Golf Club in Spokane, Wash., and operated his own golf school. While the owner-operator of the Clint Wallman Golf School from 1996 to 2002, Wallman developed and conducted all instructional programs. During this time of his career, Wallman also volunteered his time to the Spokane Youth Sports Association and various elementary and high school teams in the area.
Wallman has also been lauded as one of the premier golf instructors in the Pacific Northwest. He is a four-time Inland Empire PGA Teacher of the Year (1996-98 and 2000), two-time Pacific Northwest PGA Teacher of the Year (1998-99) and the 1999 Pacific Northwest PING Clubfitter of the Year. Golf Digest and Golf Magazine have twice ranked Wallman among the Top 10 Teachers in Washington state, and in 2003, Golf Digest named Wallman among the top 10 teachers in the region and top 50 in America.
Wallman is also a frequent lecturer for PGA of America on teaching and the development of video in teaching golf. His main focus in most of his lectures is the potential that computer-aided video has in developing the innate talent of any golfer.
In December of 2009, he traveled to Phoenix, Ariz. to attend the Titleist Performance Institute. Through this process, he learned the major physical performance factors that limit most players from reaching their potential and understands how to effectively screen and identify any physical factors that are limiting a player's performance. With this program, he can choose and prescribe customized drills and exercises to help eliminate these limitations. He is a TPI certified and utilizes the system with members of the IU Women's Golf Team as well as the golfing public who take lessons from him.
Just as he has been recognized for his teaching skills, Wallman has received just as many laurels as a player. The 1990 Chrysler National Putting Champion and Pacific Northwest Regional Putting Champion, Wallman also placed 30th at the 1997 Dave Pelz World Putting Championship. Wallman twice qualified for the U.S. Open Sectional, in 1998 and 2001, and he also won the 1994 Spalding Shootout, the 1999 Inland Empire PGA Championship and the 2002 Rossland Trail Open Championship.
A 1985 graduate of Washington State University with a bachelor's degree in physical education, Wallman was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. The two-time captain won the 1984 Washington State Invitational title and still ranks among the Cougars' all-time leaders in top-10 finishes. He served as an assistant coach for the Cougars in 1984-85.
Wallman has two daughters, Katie (27) and Chrissy (25), who are both IU graduates. Wallman and his wife, Sierra, also have a son Rhys (4) and welcomed Beau Wallman on December 8, 2010.