Windsor's Ly looks beyond first win
Holy Names product and Northern Illinois freshman Ly casts gaze beyond first win
Windsor's Jasmine Ly is showing that a freshman can be a factor.
Coming off her first NCAA tournament victory for the Northern Illinois University Huskies, the 20-year-old Ly is carrying plenty of confidence as she heads into Friday's opening round of her first Mid-american Conference Women's Golf Championship in Silver Lake, Ohio.
“I'm just practising, trying to sharpen up my game and I'm just going to treat it like any other tournament,” said Ly, who is a Holy Names high school product. “There's nothing different than what I would do for another tournament.”
For the most part, Ly's 2020 season with the Huskies was wiped out by COVID-19, which is why she carries a second-year freshman status. While most players in her place would still be learning the university ropes, Ly has shown she can shine.
In six events this spring, Ly has had three finishes in the top 5 for Northern Illinois, capped by a two-shot victory at the Illinois State University's Redbird Spring Invitational earlier this month.
“It's not super common by any means,” Huskies head coach
Kim Kester said. “You'll see it from time to time. With a player of Jasmine's calibre, we had a feeling she'd win real early in her career.”
Mcgregor's Luc Warnock is a sophomore for the Northern Illinois men's team, whose MAC championship is set for next week, and Lasalle's Thomas Demarco is a graduate from the school. Kester said they helped put her on to Ly as a recruit, along with a few ranking services.
“She's adjusted extremely well,” said Kester, a Michigan native who spent several weekends in Ontario growing up playing hockey. “Jasmine, for her, the sky is the limit. She has so much talent and it's just a matter of time. I think there's going to be many more wins.”
Ly, who competed at last year's United States women's amateur championship, has already built an impressive resume on the course. A former OFSAA provincial high school champion, she boasts 16 tournament titles in Canada along with five top 5 finishes in the American Junior Golf Association. But her game has gone to a new level with the Huskies.
“It's been pretty good,” said
Ly, who has spent the year doing online classes due to COVID-19 and is trying to stay bubbled with teammates as much as possible. “I'm pretty happy with how I've played so far.”
The 5-foot-1 Ly plays a smart game on the course while some of her taller and more powerful competitors can get an advantage from pounding the ball.
“My game is definitely different from some of my teammates who are 6-feet tall,” Ly said. “This past winter, I worked a lot on trying to get some distance because I think that's always an advantage, no matter what course you play.
“I try to play smart. I won't always be able to go for things, but I try to minimize a mistake.”
Despite her small stature compared to some other golfers, Kester said she has seen growth in Ly's long game and doesn't believe that will deter her from having success.
“I've watched a lot of LPGA players that don't hit that far and are still successful,” Kester said. “She's actually picked up a good amount of yardage. She's been working out, which has added some distance. She won't hit 300-yard drives, but she's very accurate.”
Kent State University, which is ranked No. 7 in the NCAA, is once again expected to win this weekend's event, but Kester believes the Huskies have a shot at a second-place finish and Ly could be a major factor in making that possible.
“I mean, I just come in and do my best,” Ly said. “I don't think about freshmen or senior. I just work on whatever I need to work on, try to improve my game and, when I go to tournament, I just play. I always go in wanting to win, it doesn't matter what tournament.”