BILLINGS -- The MSU Billings golf men open their first-ever regional championships on Thursday in Washington, and their fifth-year senior slugger is a big reason why.
"I hit it pretty far compared to most of the guys playing with me, which is weird, because growing up I didn't," captain Garrett Woodin told MTN Sports with a smile.
Woodin has played enough golf to know distance is dandy. But he also knows accurate distance is the difference maker.
"I feel like I really hit it straight off the tee, too, for how long I hit it, which is probably my biggest attribute," he said. "Being able to start most holes in a really good spot and always having a pretty good chance at birdie off the tee."
Woodin has made his share of birdies this season, earning him first-team all-conference honors last week. After missing out on last year's empty pandemic season, he's taking advantage of his final year. Capping his career, Woodin has far and away played more collegiate rounds than any previous MSUB golfer, now at 110 and counting. The 2021 NCAA Division II West/South Central Regional Championships tee off on Thursday at the par-72, 7,026-yard The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.
He's also started reading more about the mental game. One of his favorite lines to calm the nerves: 'Fake it till you make it.'
"Even if you are feeling really jittery or flustered out there, if you just kind of make yourself look like you're really calm out there you can kind of trick yourself into thinking it," he explained.
His favorite PGA Tour player growing up? Tiger Woods, who in his prime dominated mentally and physically.
"When he was at his best he pretty much did everything perfectly, or as perfectly as you can with golf," Woodin said.
Right now Woodin said he is having a lot of fun watching Dustin Johnson.
"He's just trying to hit a good shot, whether it's the first hole or the last hole. He just breaks golf down in an incredibly easy way," he said.
And that's Woodin's latest focus: simplifying the game.
No matter the sport, he's a numbers guy and just buries himself in stats, whether it's the NFL or a debate between LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan.
"I love all three of those players," he said. "I think they're all amazing, but I think LeBron's longevity at the moment is pretty much what puts him above the rest for me."
As far as playing a ball stamped with his favorite number?
"I like ones and threes the best. I like the odd numbers ... and I don't like anything above three," he said.
Seems simple enough.