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RU coach competes in tourneys

Rutgers head women’s golf coach Maura Ballard recalls the day she was introduced to golf.

Her mother had taken her to an LPGA event in northern New Jersey and she found herself in awe of the professional lifestyle. From that day on, Ballard knew golf would become a large part of her life.

She just did not think it would be teaching it.

“I never dreamed I would be a golf coach. I always thought I was going to be a player,” Ballard said. “Coaching was just this fun hobby I had and then as time went on I enjoyed it. … And it’s been very fulfilling and has created a career for me now.”

Ballard became the part-time head coach of the Rutgers men’s golf team following a strong college career at the school. She was a letter winner from 1984-1987. Ballard won the 1986 Yale Invitational and posted several top-three finishes.

She also experienced success beyond the collegiate level.

She won the 1991 WMGA Better Ball Tournament with partner Mary Eichhorn as well as the New Jersey State Amateur Championship in 1992.

Ballard is currently in her 21st season as the Scarlet Knights head coach but still competes at a high level as a player. Her most recent win was at the Garden State Pinehurst Championship in 2008 with partner Ann Probert, along with finishing runner-up in the 2009 New Jersey State Women’s Amateur Championship.

Winning Big East Coach of the Year in 2005 while still playing brings not only her competitive experience to her athletes but also a great knowledge of the game of golf.

“I would say the main thing she has taught me is that golf doesn’t define you as a person,” said sophomore Samantha Moyal. “It’s just a part of you and what I do on the golf course doesn’t necessarily reflect on me as much as it used to.”

Despite a successful career coaching, Ballard has no intentions of calling it quits any time soon. The Flemington, N.J., native believes there is still plenty of growth to come and that the move to the Big Ten provides the perfect step for Rutgers to become one of the elite golf programs in the country.

“You couldn’t ask for a better scenario for Rutgers at this point in time, perfect timing,” Ballard said. “As I continue to coach with the team down the years, things are just going to keep getting better and better as time moves on and I’m really excited to be a part of all this growth right now.”

For updates on the Rutgers women’s golf team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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