As the off season keeps players from competing on the Road to the LPGA, SymetraTour.com will run a new feature to keep fans in touch with the future stars of women’s golf. This edition of Time to Meet… features Copenhagen, Denmark native and 2012 Symetra Tour rookie Therese Koelbaek.
The former UNLV standout had a distinguished career for the Rebels. She garnered Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors in 2011 alongside being nominated for the 2011 NCAA Woman of the Year award. She was four-time All Mountain West performer and was a two-time All-American.
Koelbaek transitioned her success seamlessly to the professional circuit this season and finished third in the Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year rankings behind LPGA Tour card winners Mi Hyang Lee and Julia Boland. She posted four top-20 finishes including a career-best third place finish at the Tate & Lyle Players Championship where she held the first round lead and shared the lead after two rounds of play. She finished eighth on Tour in birdies (128), 12th in putting average (29.84) and 14th in both scoring average (72.6) and rounds under par (16).
See what the top song is on her iPod, what the most rewarding charitable thing she has done and where she felt the most pressure in a golf tournament.
Name: Therese Koelbaek
Phonetic pronunciation of name: ’Coal-beck’
Birthdate: February 1st 1988
Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark
Resides: Towson, Md. / Scottsdale, Ariz. (offseason)
Official website: www.theresekoelbaek.com
Facebook: Therese Koelbaek Golf
If you could be on a show based only on your personality or interests, which one would it be and why?
It would be something like The Amazing Race. I love the outdoors and survivor types of vacations. Then add some competition and it would just be so much more fun.
What was your favorite board game growing up?
I really liked a game similar to Monopoly called Matador, but other than board games I have always been a big fan of card games.
What was the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Packing up and leaving my family and friends to move to the US for college. I love my home country and am definitely a family person, so to say goodbye to everything and everyone I knew was extremely hard, but definitely worth it in the end.
What’s your biggest fear?
I am petrified of sharks. They are so mean and scary looking and it is just scary to think that if you ever were to encounter one, it’s in its own element and you are just sitting bait. That being said, I absolutely love the ocean and wish so badly to go scuba diving, and I am afraid you can’t have one without the other.
What’s the most pressure you’ve ever felt in tournament golf?
Playing in the Spirit in 2009 for my country, we were in third place by one shot going up 18th hole, but my teammate hit it in the water and it was up to me to make the par. With some 200 people watching I don’t remember ever being so nervous over a four-foot putt.
Describe the best meal you’ve had while on the road and where you had it…
It would have to be a meal I had in Australia during the 2008 World Championship at this amazing restaurant. The seafood was extremely good, and we had to come back to the same place a couple more times during the two weeks.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments and places that take our breath away.”
If you had one last round of golf to play, who would make up your foursome?
If I had one last round left, I would want to spend it with the people I love the most which would be my boyfriend, mom, dad, and brother. I guess that is one too many, but perhaps I could convince my mom to watch and keep us company instead of playing :)
Who do you admire and why?
I admire Beyoncé Knowles for being a strong talented individual, who is a great business person and seems like an amazing person as well. She seems to juggle it all and does it very well, and then she is an amazing artist.
Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter and why?
I must admit I am slowly getting more into Twitter. It used to be Facebook by far, but I think what is fun about Twitter is that you can get a small insight into some people’s lives, that you would otherwise never have. However, if I had to choose between the two it would be Facebook as I would rather keep up with people I know and care about than people I don’t know.
What is the most rewarding charitable thing you’ve done?
Spending an evening with my UNLV teammates packing food for children in need was very rewarding. In Denmark we don’t do charitable work, because there are not really people in need when the government takes care of everyone. Therefore, it was this first charity work that stood out to me most, helping children who otherwise wouldn’t get much food.
What is your favorite sports team?
I love the national team of Denmark. It is so exciting watching your country play whether its soccer, handball, or any other team sport. There is just something about the representation of my country that makes me more excited than any other ‘team’.
Describe your biggest sports accomplishment to date…
Winning the NCAA West Regional as a freshman in college probably stands out to me as one of my biggest sports accomplishments. What was so rewarding about that tournament more than winning individual was that my team finished 3rd overall and made it to the NCAA Championship, after haven been ranked 16th at the regional.
Name what you like most and least about being a professional golfer
I love the competition of the game. Perhaps I am not the biggest practice person but I love competing in tournaments and getting motivated to improve. Also, the freedom that comes with this job is amazing, though it can be hard to manage your own time. What I do not like so much is the many hours spent traveling and being away from home, which can be very hard.
What is the top played song on your Ipod? Most frequently listened to artist?
The top played song is probably ‘It Is You (I Have Loved)’ by Dana Glover from the movie Shrek. I don’t have that many particular artists I listen to, like a little variety.
If a movie were filmed about your life, who would play you?
I would love it if Charlize Theron could play me. She is very talented and seems like a great person. Just kind of wish I looked a little more like her, then it would be a perfect fit.
What is your favorite country to travel to?
Other than going home to Denmark, one of my favorite countries is Italy. The most amazing food and fashion, and then both city and country land is absolutely astonishing.
If you could play one pro sport besides golf, what would it be?
It would definitely have been tennis. I grew up playing tennis, though never on a competitive level, and my parents actually met in their tennis club way back when. If it wasn’t for golf taking over all my time I could imagine still playing, and even now I still love the sport.
First concert you ever went to…
My first concert I believe was my own piano ‘concert’. Maybe that’s an exaggeration since a bunch of other students performed too, but my solo number went very well as far as I remember :)
Three things you would bring on a deserted island and why?
My boyfriend, my phone (so I could stay in touch with my family), and a fishing rod.
What’s something you are looking forward to in the next year?
I look forward to the opportunity of doing better than this year. I have learned a lot this year and am far from done learning, but regardless what tour I play on next year, I am excited to work hard at in the winter and hopefully improve my game and do better.
What do you consider to be the most valuable thing you own?
Of tangible things, it would have to be pictures that remind me of all the amazing things I have experienced with great people.
If you had one last practice round on the Symetra Tour, who would make up your foursome?
Jessica Carafiello, Calle Nielson, and Nicole Smith.
If you had the opportunity to tell the fans and the media something about yourself or your career, what would it be?
I am a hard worker and love accomplishing things for myself and others. I am not the best I can be yet, but am sure going to try my hardest to make it happen. There is nothing greater than to be able to enjoy hard work paying off. I know I can make it far, and as long as I love what I am doing I cannot wait to really make a career out of this game. One of my biggest long term goals is to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, representing my country.