As a youngster, Maggie Heggerston dreamed of playing college basketball for the University of Minnesota.
That’s not going to happen. But the Pequot Lakes junior is going to golf for the Gophers starting with the 2015-16 season. Heggerston verbally committed Tuesday, Oct. 22, and will receive a four-year scholarship to the U of M to be a member of the Gophers women’s golf team.
“I’m so excited. This is a dream come true,” Heggerston said Monday, Oct. 28. “I’ve always like the University of Minnesota. Three of my grandparents went there, and I pictured myself playing basketball for them when I was younger.”
But Heggerston’s primary sport eventually became golf. Although she didn’t start playing until fifth or sixth grade, she has worked hard during the summer months to improve. Last June, she played in her third Class AA state meet with the Patriots and finished fifth as a sophomore.
“Last year was stressful,” she said. “I wanted to play well and be noticed by the colleges. Now, it’s a relief that I’m committed to Minnesota, and I can enjoy my next two years of high school golf (with the Patriots).”
Heggerston said she chose the U of M because she wanted to “stay close to home at a Midwest school” plus the chance to play for the Gophers’ head coach Michele Redman.
“She’s the main reason I picked the (U of M),” Heggerston said of Redman, who played on the LPGA tour for almost two decades. “She’s a great coach and we had a good connection. We’ve been talking since Sept. 1.”
Heggerston credits her improvement to area professional golf coach Chris Foley and Pequot Lakes Patriots coach Jon Dale.
“Jon helps me with a lot with course management,” she said. “He helps me stay positive and work on the mental part of the game. Chris is definitely my mechanical coach. He helps me with the technical part of the game.”
Heggerston, whose golfing strength is being a long hitter, has worked hard to improve her game in the off season. This past summer she competed in numerous PGA and Minnesota Golfers Association qualifiers.
“If you have a dream, and you work hard, sometimes those dreams come true,” Coach Dale said of Heggerston. “She’s very deserving, and has put in a lot of work. She also has dedicated parents. I knew when she was young that Maggie was a talented golfer with a really good swing.”
Dale said that Heggerston is the first golfer from Pequot Lakes to play at the Division 1 college level.
“We also have Savannah Stone playing golf at the Division II level as a freshman at Concordia College (St. Paul),” Dale said. “It will be neat to have two former Patriots playing college golf in the Twin Cities.”
The U of M women’s golf team currently has just three Minnesota high school graduates on its 10-player roster. There are also two other golfers from the United States, along with the countries of Thailand, France, Spain and Canada.