Sanz sets standard for sister, team
Golf is just a mind game for Patricia Sanz, and she is not giving up.
"The same mental challenge that I hate some days is the mental challenge that makes me grow as a person and as a player," said Sanz, junior golfer in microbiology.
Sanz, who began playing golf under her father's guidance at the age of 7, doesn't know what first sparked her interest in golf.
"At the beginning, my goal was to try and hit that tiny ball, but as years went by it became the mental challenge that caught my interest," Sanz said.
Sanz said she chose Auburn in an attempt to balance both academics and athletics, and she fell in love with golf even more when she arrived.
Assistant coach Ryan Cabbage said Sanz works hard and sets and example on and off the course.
"Patricia is a great example to the other members of the team both academically and athletically," Cabbage said. "She is a leader."
Unlike most on Auburn's golf team, Sanz's golf career goes back to her time living in Madrid where she played on the Spanish team that defeated Sweden and France.
In high school she was ranked No. 1 in the Madrid girls' rankings and No. 4 in the Spanish girls' rankings.
Also in high school, her team was a four-time champion at the Madrid Open Team Championships.
In her freshman year at Auburn, Sanz was selected as a NGCA All-American Scholar and ranked No. 113 in the nation in the final GolfWeek ratings.
She competed in all 11 tournaments that year.
Sanz also made the cut at the British Amateur, won the Madrid Tournament, played in the Biarritz Cup in France and placed fourth in the Swiss International, all while in her freshman year.
Sanz's best round of her freshman year was a 69, two under par at the SEC Championships.
"It was the best tournament I've ever played," Sanz said. "It still gives me goose bumps when I think about it."
In her sophomore year, Sanz was named a NGCA All-American Scholar for a second time, an Academic Top Tiger and to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
She also finished her sophomore season ranked the No. 134 women's college golfer in the nation.
"I love Auburn's golf program," Sanz said. "Every year the team has changed, but I can say I've made good friends who are like sisters now."
Sanz's sister, Marta, is a freshman on the Auburn women's golf team this season.
Patricia and Marta are just the second set of sisters to compete together at Auburn.
"Marta and I compete in everything," Sanz said. "We are both very competitive in a great way; we love to play each other, and we push each other harder to be better."
Sanz said she likes to play tennis, go to the movies and hang out with friends when she's not on the golf course or in school.
"Pati is a hard worker; she studies hard," said head coach, Kim Evans.
However, Sanz admits that being an athlete and a student isn't always easy.
"Once the season starts and we travel, we miss classes," Sanz said. "It can be stressing sometimes."
Those long hours of traveling and school have helped Sanz reach her impressive athletic and academic status.
"She is passionate in everything she does," Cabbage said. "She pushes in the right direction and is always positive."