By MARCUS MITCHELL
Senior golfer Fatin Amin stood alone on the green of the 18th hole at the Flagler Fall Slam on Oct. 27. With her putter in her hand, she addressed the five feet between her ball and the hole. It would be a downhill putt breaking from the right to the left and the wet green could give Amin trouble.
This shot would prove to be one of the most important of her Spartan career. Making that shot would and her in the history books. She shot an even par through the round and making the birdie at 18 would put her under par, a first not only for Amin, but for the UT program.
After some deliberation, Amin approached her ball and readied herself for the potentially record-breaking putt. She was shaking and took a few more practice swings than usual. She readjusted her grip of her putter, her hands slicked with a mixture of rain and sweat, and took a few deep breaths. She was ready. With her heart thumping and her eyes determined to make this stroke the last of her fall season, Amin let it fly.
Making her collegiate debut at the Flagler Invitational two years ago, Amin has made great strides in her golfing career as a Spartan. Joining the team as a freshman, the Kuala Lumpur native is now the captain of the team in her final year. In that time, Amin has become the face of the program and leads a team of golfers that have great faith in their captain.
“Fatin works so hard during season, and off season,” senior GraceMarie Schian said. “She’s an all around great player, teammate and friend. Fatin is focused at practice and is just extremely dedicated in general.”
Last fall season, Amin shot a 159 in the Flagler Fall Slam and was determined to improve in her return to St. Augustine. After shooting 79 during the first round, Amin had goals in mind for her Tuesday outing.
“We had a conversation the night before where we set up realistic goals for ourselves to shoot that day,” teammate GraceMarie Schian said. “She set the goal of either 76 or 77. She totally crushed it.”
Amin started her Tuesday round with a hot start, sinking a three foot birdie to finish her front nine two under par. The round started to get rocky however when Amin reached the 14th hole.
She pushed her drive right of the fairway and her next shot put her ball into the rough near the green.
“It was a pretty simple chip when I stepped up to it, but because of the rain and my misjudgment of the speed, my ball didn’t roll up as much as I wanted towards the hole,” Amin said.
This left her with a five foot putt that broke left, forcing her to tap in for bogey. Then things only gotten rough for Amin on the 15th hole.
“I hooked my draft to the left pretty badly,” Amin said. “What scared me the most about this hole was that, where my ball was going, there was marsh right in front of it. When I took the shot, my club got stuck in the rough and that took out a lot of my distance.”
The ball then fell just out of the hazard line and Amin was forced to take an awkward stance, her resulting shot landing her 25 feet from the hole. Her putt for par went past the hole but she was able to salvage the hole with an eight-footer for bogey.
At that point, Amin was at an even par and only had three holes left to make history. Around this stage of her round, the idea of finishing under par went from a hopeful finish to a strong possibility.
“[The thought of finishing under par] started on my ninth hole,” Amin said. “I was pretty confident with my ball striking and putting so I wanted to get at least a birdie through those last three holes.”
Holes 16 and 17 went on without incident and then Amin reached 18, knowing a birdie would put her under par. Hole 18 was a par five and left a lot of room for Amin to make something happen. Rain began to fall once again on the course, providing a perfect backdrop to a dramatic finish. On her third stroke, the ball whizzed through the air and landed on the green, five feet from the hole.
The ball rolled down the green, gliding over the paper-thin layer of water that laced the ground. “Yes, yes, yes,” Amin whispered as the ball danced down the slope toward the hole. She clenched her fist and stared down the ball, its path showing only one possible destination. It fell in the hole. Silence fell the course, but Amin couldn’t hold her excitement any longer.
“Boom baby!” Amin shouts out as she picks up her ball and heads toward her coach and teammates. She finished with a career-best, team-best, and program-best performance by finishing under par, a final score of 71. Since the program’s birth in 2011, no player has ever shot under par, until now.
“I’ve always thought that when we compete in a very competitive conference, it’s hard to make history,” Amin said. “But then I realized after that day, I made history within myself, the team and the program. What made it even sweeter is the fact that my teammates were there to witness it and be just excited as I was.
Amin, finishing with a 150 to claim 22nd place at the tournament, led a Spartan team that finished the second round with a score of 307, a school-best. The team was firing on all cylinders and Amin’s birdie was a fitting highlight to an impressive fall season.
“We couldn’t wait for her to get off the green so we could hug her and celebrate with her,” senior Alyssa Morahan said. “[Fatin’s performance] has boosted our morale and makes us eager to start next season and see what we can accomplish.”
The performance is far from a fluke and was a “long time coming” according to her teammates. With the fall season behind them, the Spartans are hungry to add more ink to the record breaks in the spring.