LOS ANGELES — When Annie Park took to the Coliseum field on Thursday evening, for her, it was, in a word: awkward.
It wasn’t the first time Park had set foot on the Coliseum turf. She and her USC women’s golf teammates were honored at a game previously. This time, she didn’t have her teammates to share the moment with.
Such is the life of a champion.
As a freshman last season, Park won the NCAA women’s golf championship. During the first quarter of the Trojans game against Arizona on Thursday she was honored with THE CWSA’s 2013 Honda Sports Award for golf.
“I’m really honored,” she said of receiving the award.
It’s yet another opportunity for recognition since her NCAA championship.
Life has changed since last spring. She no longer blends in with the rest of the student body on campus.
“Some people actually recognize me and it’s kind of bizarre,” she said. “I just went to class (in the past) and (now) they’re like ‘Didn’t you win nationals last semester?’
“It’s not awkward but I don’t know what to respond to (by) their reaction.”
It’s different for Park, who says she’s shy by nature.
Winning, however, is nothing new. She’s been winning since she picked up golf clubs. She started golfing at the age of eight. She also won her first tournament at the age of eight. It was the first tournament she’d ever participated in. At Bethpage.
She set the bar high for herself as an 8-year-old and continues to after her first season at USC. National championships aren’t easy to come by, but so far the New York native is one-for-one in her collegiate career, and the trend is expected.
“I do feel like they are expecting of me much more (next season) because of what I’ve done last (season),” Park said. “I do feel a bit more pressure, but it also motivates me to work harder.”