GoDuke.com: Tell us a little about what you did this summer. Alison Whitaker: I spent a lot of time back home, which was nice, and played in some tournaments run by Victoria. It was a national ranking event where anyone in the country can play. It was about an hour away from my home, so I stayed with my cousins, which was nice, getting a little family time in. It was a pretty cool experience; it was my purpose to go back, and being able to pull out a win was nice. You always feel the pressure to perform, so it was nice to get off on a good foot. How as it winning the Victorian Amateur Championship in front of all your family and friends? AW: It was really cool. I haven&apost really played much back at home in the last couple of years. Last year, the Australian Open, which I usually go back for, conflicted with one my tournaments so I wasn&apost able to go back to that. But, it was fun to have my little cousins and others come out because they really enjoy it and they get a half-day off from school, so they&aposre really stoked about it. It was great having mum and dad out there, and my grandfather, aunts and uncles. GD: What did you work on the most this summer with your game? AW: Short game, definitely. I think I realized last year that I just needed to change my workload around. I was spending too much time on technical stuff like my swings, which didn&apost really need to be addressed. I spent a lot of time on pitching and putting. I think it really paid off towards the end of my trip back home-there&aposs a big difference. Is it hard to believe you are already a senior and three years went by so fast? AW: Yeah, it&aposs pretty bizarre, but at the same time, when I look back and think about when I moved into East Campus, it seems so long ago. [I] achieved so much and done so much, just crammed so much life into three years that it seems short, but at the same time, it seems long. This year the season is starting even earlier than ever. How has the team looked since being back only a couple of weeks? AW: We look really good. I&aposm pretty excited that the girls have really functional golf swings, which is great, but we need a lot of work. Like with the freshmen — Lindy Duncan actually just whooped all of us in qualifying-she came out and showed some really low numbers. I&aposm pretty convinced that if it was a three-day tournament, she probably would&aposve won it, no matter how many teams were there. That was great to watch and it pushes me as well. I&aposve got someone on the team that I can battle with a bit, which will be good because we can push each other which will bring a nice dimension to the team. It changes it up a bit. Are you trying to be more of a leader this year as a senior? AW: Definitely. I&aposm a big believer that you can find people who will lead themselves because everyone&aposs good in different areas. But at the same time, with three freshmen coming in, sometimes they don&apost realize how big a jump it is from junior golf to college golf. A lot of the girls have played on representative sides before, but it&aposs still very much an individual game in college. It&aposs a little different; the strategies change, and it takes some getting used to. How are the three freshmen – Lindy Duncan, Stacey Kim and Courtney Ellenbogen – fitting in so far? AW: Yeah, I expect them to be themselves, be who they are and who they can be. They&aposve settled in and it&aposs really promising. It seems like you have a lot of fun while out on the golf course as you are smiling and laughing a lot. Is that true? AW: [laughing] I try to keep it that way. For me, I never really knew which came first — the good attitude or good golf. The only thing you control is you on the course, so you might as well do a good job with that and hope that it rubs off on the rest of your game. Have you had much time to work with new assistant coach Emily Bastel? AW: I&aposve had a lot, actually. I was pretty lucky; she&aposs been helping me out a lot with short game and just trying to make it functional for a golf course rather than just range work. She&aposs great, she&aposs got a world of knowledge in terms of how to play golf, which is a nice contrast with Coach Brooks, who is very sound technically, with little details in the swing and such like that. Emily helps you with how to deal with [technicality] on the golf course, which I think is a really nice dynamic. She&aposs good fun, nice to be around. What makes coach Brooks such a good coach? AW: He&aposs a pretty good icebreaker. He knows when the mood needs to be stern. He also knows when we&aposre beating up on ourselves, he&aposll crack a joke and we&aposll laugh, but then we&aposll go get some work done. He&aposs pretty good at reading situations. I think that over 25 years working with women, he&aposs learned something, learned some really helpful stuff for us. How different will it be when you tee off at the NGCA Match Play and not have Amanda Blumenherst and Jennie Lee there? AW: It&aposs going to be weird. But at the same time, it&aposs one of those things where people will go in this program, and Coach Brooks has to get used to saying “hi” and “bye” to everyone in four years; I can only imagine how difficult it is when you forge relationships with people. Obviously I&aposll miss them, but when one door closes, one door opens — hopefully other people on the team will step up. What do you like about match play? AW: I think it&aposs the idea that you really only have to do what you need to do to win. It takes a little, I wouldn&apost say pressure, but…it&aposs a good question. The concept of simply beating the person by one shot is all you&aposve got to do, and just working towards that goal. Match Play also frees your mind — I can just be super aggressive, which is great for my goals. And one hole is just one hole — you can just let it go. What&aposs one thing that most people don&apost know about Alison Whitaker? AW: I&aposm not nearly as wild as everyone makes me out to be [laughs]. I think I&aposve got a bit of a bad rep for that. I&aposm pretty laid back. I like playing music — I find it cathartic. After graduation do you want to stay in the States or go back to Australia? AW: I&aposll probably go back to Australia for a little while, but I&aposll stay in States, because the mentality here towards golf is very different and the mentality towards sports. Back at home, we&aposre a self-deprecating society; we knock people down rather than building them up just out of our own nature and culture. Here I feel that people tend to build people up more than necessarily deserved sometimes. When you&aposre trying to achieve a dream, that&aposs a really good environment to do it in. I&aposve got a lot of friends who&aposve made a base around here, so hopefully I&aposll be able to settle in nicely after school. Do you have a go-to club? AW: I really love a little bump-and-run, the chip shot. I grew up bumping and running it around Australian golf courses. I didn&apost get to play it much around here, but I&aposm trying to learn how to put it more in my game.