Natalie Srinivasan (Spartanburg, South Carolina) feels like it’s her time.
“Professional golf is something I've always wanted to do since I started having a competitive interest,” said Srinivasan (shree-nee-vah-sun). “The way things ended for me, I felt like I had so much momentum to take as I turn pro with it all fresh and my name being out there. It's time to start the next chapter in my golf life.”
The 2020 ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel winner announced her decision on June 8. Recognized as the nation’s top female collegiate golfer in May, Srinivasan added her name to the list of past recipients which includes Alison Lee, Maria Fassi, the 2019 Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg champion Bronte Law and LPGA Tour rookie Leona Maguire.
Along with the honor for Srinivasan comes an exemption into the 2021 Evian Championship, one of the five LPGA Tour majors.
“This award is the pinnacle of women's college golf,” Srinivasan said. “Not in a million years did I dream I would be considered one of the finalists, let alone win the thing. So many great players have won it so to have my name up there with them is surreal. I worked really hard at Furman [University] and it’s nice to see all those hours that nobody else saw, pay off in a really huge way.”
She ended her Paladins career with the best scoring average (72.60) in program history—quite a feat when you consider the list of former Furman players includes Betsy King, Beth Daniel and Dottie Pepper, among others. A four-time medalist, including the 2017 Southern Conference Championship individual title, Srinivasan was also named 2017 SoCon Freshman of the Year and SoCon Player of the Year in 2018. This year, she captured Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) First Team All-American honors and was also awarded the 2020 Juli Inkster Senior Award.
With all the accolades highlighting the end of her career at Furman, the conclusion will always be a very memorable one especially being cut short in the midst of a global pandemic.
“One of the girls sent the NCAA tweet in our team group text message and that's when I found out,” said Srinivasan, a LPGA-USGA Girls Golf alumna. “I was in my apartment unpacking because our tournament at the College of Charleston got canceled. After that everything was like a tidal wave, it just all happened at once.
“It was just weird. I remember playing the final round of the Darius Rucker [Intercollegiate] event and went home with my parents because our coach gave us a few days off for spring break. I went home for a few days without knowing that was my last round in college. I try to take away all the positives. A lot of good things happened this ‘postseason’ and I couldn't be more grateful for my time at Furman.”
Srinivasan now turns her attention to life on the Epson Tour with the goal of obtaining a LPGA Tour membership through the Volvik Race for the Card. She joins plenty of familiar faces on the “Road to the LPGA,” including Furman alumnae Alice Chen, Taylor Totland, Haylee Harford and Laura Wearn.
Until the season gets back into competition mode, Srinivasan is putting in work at her home course of Musgrove Mill Golf Club and heeding the advice of a few friends, who also just so happen to be current Epson Tour members.
“Taylor [Totland] was a senior my freshman year, so her and I are very close friends, I talk to her every day,” said Srinivasan. “We've had many conversations and the biggest thing she's told me is to do what I do, that I've been successful doing it. Once I get out there, nothing is different and just to maintain the way I practice, keep it the same and keep doing my thing. Believe, see what happens and have fun.”