After outstanding summer, Roller ready to golf at TU | TU Sports Extra

Jenni Roller has enjoyed an outstanding last few months on the golf course.

The incoming University of Tulsa freshman first had an excellent senior season for Regent Prep, winning her final four high school tournaments, including the Class 3A individual state championship that she won by a ridiculous 18 strokes. Then she went on a roll through the summer amateur golf circuit, winning multiple tournaments, including the Oklahoma Junior Masters at Southern Hills, continuously working to improve her game.

Now, as she gets ready to report to TU, she hopes she has done enough to make an impact at the college level.

“I feel like I’ve done pretty well this summer,” said Roller, who set a state record with her opening-round 62 at the state tournament in May. “I think once I shot my 62 at state, it kind of lit a fire under me to keep putting up low numbers, but I just want to keep getting better. I want to be a great college golfer, so I’ve been practicing a lot, a lot of tournaments has helped me get a lot of experience. I’ve just been learning a lot about my game and how I can improve.”

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Looking back at her results this summer, it’s a little hard to imagine how much she could get better. After her high school season ended, Roller continued to excel in several local high-level amateur tournaments against many of the state’s top high school and college-age golfers.

Less than a week after her legendary state championship performance, she prevailed at the Oklahoma Junior Masters at Southern Hills in Tulsa less than two weeks before the PGA Championship was there. After that, she claimed the Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Amateur titles in both stroke and match play (winning the match play final by a huge 7&6 margin) in June.

Roller then capped off her impressive winning streak at the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Championship in Stillwater on July 13, taking the title by four strokes.

She was set to compete at the high school All-State golf competition on July 25 at Cherokee Hills in Catoosa, but after starting, she withdrew because she wasn’t feeling well. She recovered enough to compete the next day in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournament at The Oaks Country Club in Tulsa and wound up tied for second.

Then, at the Tulsa World’s All-World banquet on Aug. 2, she was named the high school girls’ golf Player of the Year (for the second straight year), but could not accept her award in person, because she was competing at the PGA Junior Championship in Palos Park, Illinois. That didn’t go quite as well, as she shot an 80-81-161 over two rounds and didn’t make the cut to continue.

So yes, it’s been an eventful spring and summer.

“Probably the highlight for me was winning the Junior Masters at Southern Hills,” said Roller. She won that tournament with a 66, for a six-shot victory over runner-up Olivia Coit of Edmond Memorial, who placed sixth at the Class 6A state tournament in May and will be attending Arkansas State. “That’s probably the best all-around golf I’ve played this summer. I just hit the ball really well, made pretty much every putt, and just to be able to play such great golf at such a great golf course, that was really special.”

She’ll finally have a brief break until reporting to TU’s first golf practice on Aug. 20. As she begins a new chapter in her life, she is happy to join a Hurricane golf program that placed seventh at the AAC tournament last April but has its top three golfers (senior Lilly Thomas and sophomores Lovisa Gunnar and Sydney Seigel) returning from last year.

“I’m really excited,” Roller said of enrolling at TU. “I think academics-wise, it’ll be a great opportunity and the program is amazing. Obviously, Annie Young, the coach there, kind of sold me on it, she’s a great coach. And the academics there are so strong that I kind of try and see the long term. I’m obviously there to play golf but I’m also there to get a great education, so that kind of sold me on it.”

She’s especially looking forward to being immersed in a golf environment that will continuously push her to improve.

“I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is the competition, because at Regent, I had teammates but it’s just not the same level,” Roller said. “They were more out there to have fun, but I think at TU, there will be girls as good as me, if not better, so I think that’ll push me to work harder. I always just love a healthy competition so I’m excited for that.”


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