Sierra's Chang Looks To Carry Success To Chico State

 April Chang (Left) and Sierra College Head Coach Kim Silva at Whitney Oaks Golf Course in Rocklin ( Jeremy McDonald- 65 Sports)

April Chang (Left) and Sierra College Head Coach Kim Silva at Whitney Oaks Golf Course in Rocklin (Jeremy McDonald- 65 Sports)

By Jeremy McDonald

Legends are written on the pages of history.

Sitting next to Sierra College Head Women’s Golf Coach Kim Silva on the outside patio at Whitney Oaks Golf Club in Rocklin, ear buds in her ears and looking at her phone is sophomore April Chang.

Chang’s dominating career started in 2013 when she received the All-Conference MVP while breaking the Wolverine individual score record with a 67 on a Par 72 course during her freshman year with the Wolverines.

In 2014, Chang made the All-Conference, All-State and All-NorCal Teams and despite missing out on the Conference Most Valuable Player award by a quarter-of-a-stroke, Chang finished second in the two-day state tournament with a 151 score on the Par 72 course.

Chang believed her time at Sierra has made her more confident out on the green.

“Before I joined Sierra, I was not very confident.  I was always second guessing my shots,” described Chang on her game.  “But once I join the team I became a different person and it has improved my golf game so much from first year to second year.”

Coming in from Highlands High School where she picked up several accolades like Player of the Year, Chang’s first year competing in 2013 was plagued by non-serious injuries.

“I was in the training room a lot,” Chang said with a laugh. “I think it was all from tension from the golf game and getting into little accidents on the golf course.”

During the All-Conference MVP campaign for Chang, Silva said there was some strategy behind keeping Chang healthy while keeping her in the MVP race.

 “There were a few times her first year that we pulled her out,” said Silva.  “We were trying to be strategic and made sure she had enough room to stay MVP and to make sure she was physically ready to go for NorCal’s and State.”

The injuries didn’t affect Chang too much between the start of the season and October 3, as she tallied  four first place finishes in her first month of playing collegiate golf.

Then, on October 4, 2013, Chang made history at the Wildhawk Golf Course in Sacramento.

On the Par 72 course, Chang shot a five-under-par to finish with a score of 67; breaking the old Sierra individual score by two strokes that day.

“It meant a lot,It boosted my confidence level,” said Chang on setting the record.  “Before that I shot in the 80s and then I got to that score and my confidence level just boosted.  After that 67 people started recognizing me, it was pretty cool.”

That day too, the Wolverines golf team recorded the lowest score as a team with a combined score of 309.

Chang would pick up one more first-place finish in 2013, but missed the All-State Individual Team off a card off, finishing sixth at the State Championship November 18 and 19.

Chang’s sophomore campaign proved to be her break out year at Sierra.

In eight different events, Chang either shared or outright finished number one in tournaments, capped by a 69 score to start the 2014 season at the Desert Classic Invitational at Indian Canyon Golf Resort in Palm Springs.

In the NorCal Championships at Castle Oaks Golf Club in Ione, Chang finished in a three-way tie for second as she was named to the All-NorCal Team. 

At Morro Bay for the State Championship, Chang finished second with a 151 combined score in the two-day tournament, four strokes off the leader.  But she was named to the All-State Team in the process.

Her philosophy in 2014 was to focus on the here and now and not focus on something like a bogey.  Something she credits with her time at Sierra.

“Before I would put myself down and after Sierra, now I think of a bogey as something that I can make up in the next couple of holes,” Chang said.  “Which is what I definitely wanted to take over to Chico (State) because no one should ever get upset over a bogey.”

Silva looks at her work ethic and used the NorCals in 2013 as an example of what she can do as a golfer.

“At NorCals last year,” Silva started.  “She was in the 80s after the first day in NorCals and usually that means you’re probably not going to state.

“But she buckled down on the second day and she shot in the 70s and barely made it, but she made it and then almost made All-State because of that. 

The Criminal Justice major credits Chico State’s program as really good and points to the girls on the team and how Head Coach Nick Green recruited her.

“Most of the girls are all shooting in the low- to mid-70s,” said Chang.  “The coach has done a lot to help get me into the program.  He was the coach that was trying to get me on the team. 

“So I felt like I wanted to be on the team and everyone on the team is nice so I like it.”

She hopes that the experience at Chico will help her become a better golfer heading into the future.

“Most like play on the traveling team, which I will be and to hopefully take that on for the future golfer.  But I’m still deciding since it’s such a tough sport,” said Chang.

Looking back to her time at Sierra College, Chang looked back at some memorial moments as she  prepares to be a Wildcat.  From the car rides to shooting a 67 she’s enjoyed being a part of a Sierra team.

“I’ve really enjoyed being at Sierra my last two years, It’s just been beyond amazing,” said Chang.  “I’m really going to miss being on a Sierra team.

As she and Silva walked out to the carts at Whitney Oaks for practice, one thing is for certain; the future is bright for this up-and-coming golf star.