IJGA Class of 2013 graduate, Ayaka Nakayama of Kanagawa, Japan, joined University of Central Florida (UCF) in January 2014 as a member of the Women’s Golf team. Nakayama was a student at IJGA for three years and came over from Japan as an ESL student her first year.
“I couldn’t speak any English when I arrived,” Nakayama reminisces during an interview with IJGA Director of College Placement, Ann Maness.
“I studied a lot everyday and since everyone spoke English all the time, I got used to it.”
After three years of English lessons and IJGA golf training, Nakayama earned an athletic scholarship in addition to her academic scholarship she earned by making the President’s Honor Roll and joined UCF Women’s Golf in their Spring 2014 season.
“Ayaka is a very good player , who we fully expect to be in our lineup next season. She got a late start this year, coming in January, so we wanted her to get comfortable with the routine of college life this semester,” said UCF head coach Emily Marron.
Nakayama is quickly becoming accustomed to college life, which she credits IJGA for.
“I practiced everyday at IJGA which prepared me for college. IJGA is like college because you are responsible for yourself.”
Although she is not competing in collegiate events yet, she is still competing in elite events around Orlando, Fla., like the SunCoast Tour which consists of many professional and high-level amateur golfers. Nakayama competed in the 2014 SunCoast Tour Grand Pines tournament April 28-30, 2014, finishing with a three-round total of 223. She was tied for first at the end of regulation play but was beat during the playoff. Nakayama’s tournament was highlighted by her second round which featured seven birdies for a score of 68 which was the best of the tournament. UCF featured her accomplishment in an article.
Nakayama will continue to play amateur events while her teammates prepare to compete in the 2014 NCAA East Regional. The IJGA family is proud of Nakayama and students look-up to her as a mentor and inspiration. We look forward to watching her shine next season as she debuts her collegiate career.
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