At a glance
What: Pac-12 Women's Golf Championships
When: Monday through Wednesday, 18 holes daily.
Where: Ruby Hill Golf Club, Pleasanton, Calif.
TV: Wednesday, Pac-12 Network.
As one of four seniors for the University of Colorado women's golf program, Alexis Keating has been a driving force for her team on and off the course all season.
But that's nothing new in the eyes of head coach Anne Kelly.
"She's been a leader since the day she came in, to be honest," Kelly said. "They call her the mother of the team, because she's really the caretaker and she's the responsible one. She's a great kid. She's a leader by example, just a hard worker, does great in school and she really cares."
Kelly said that although Keating, a native of Elma, Wash., has not exhibited a lot of vocal leadership, her composure on the course has been example enough for her younger teammates. That can be a vital asset to any program, especially one that's part of the best women's golf conference in the nation.
"The Pac-12 Conference is a tough one for sure in golf," Keating said. "If you look at the rankings, typically many of the teams who are in the Pac-12 are in the top 10 ranked nationally. That's what makes it so much fun ... when you're in conference and you're at different tournaments, you are playing against the best teams in the nation."
To put that in perspective, seven Pac-12 teams highlight the Golfweek Top 25 rankings, including No. 1 Washington, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 USC and No. 5 Arizona.
When the Buffaloes play at that level, they compete with the best of the best and consequently improve their own games. And no matter how a tournament may turn out, Keating is grateful for the experience.
"I love it," she said. "I wouldn't want it any other way than to play (in the Pac-12) ... you're playing with the best all the time. It's fun when you achieve at that level because you know when it is significant and that even when you don't achieve, you know what you need to do to get there and you know where you need to be."
Last season, Keating finished the last round of the Pac-12 Championships at Boulder Country Club with a school-record 66 to finish fifth individually and also propel her team to a fifth-place finish. She said that performance was the most memorable of her career, but her focus has shifted to helping her teammates keep the right mindset this year.
"It's been, for me, I think really important to make sure that everybody is taking something good away from the round, even if it was a bad round," she said. "I always try to make sure to ask, 'Even if it was one good shot, what's one good thing you can take away from today? And what's one good thing that you can take into the next round?' I hope that it's helped everybody, but that's what I try to do," Keating said.
As the team heads into the Pac-12 Championships again starting Monday at Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton, Calif., Kelly has nothing but confidence in her senior, the mother of the team.
"I think when Lex is on and playing her best, she can compete with anybody," Kelly said. "It's the best college golf conference in the country by far, and so we're playing the best players in the world. But she proved that last year, that when she's on her game, she can compete with anybody."
Alissa Noe: firstname.lastname@example.org