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Have golf clubs, will travel

Former Tualatin star Seshia-Lei Telles is still playing up to par


Photo Credit: SCOBEL WIGGINS - BIG SHOT -- Seshia-Lei Telles watches her drive sail away during play at the Pac-12 championships. The game of golf.

If you play it well enough, it can take you places.

Just ask Seshia-Lei Telles.

It’s easy to say that she plays the game well — very well.

And, guess what, golf has taken her places.

Back in 2010, when Telles was a Tualatin High School senior, golf took her to the very top of the state, as she reigned supreme at the Class 6A Girls Golf State Tournament that year, winning the event held at Quail Valley with a two-round, one-under-par score of 143 strokes. With that championship performance, Telles completed an amazing four-year high school girls golf career, in which she never placed lower than sixth in state tournament play.

After graduating from Tualatin, Telles, with her sweet swing and consistent play, headed south to Corvallis, where she etched her name in the Oregon State University record book as a four-year standout on the Beavers’ women’s golf team.

While at Oregon State, Telles kept up her golfing travels, even heading with the OSU squad to Japan for a tournament last September.

“The traveling is one of the best parts,” Telles said earlier this week, talking about her time playing for Oregon State.

And, all the while, Telles has been doing even more traveling, as she’s competed in various junior and amateur tournaments.

Back in July, Telles’ travels took her to New York, where she competed against many of the country’s top golfers in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.

As for the future, Telles is working hard to make sure her golf travels continue.

“I want to try and make it to the LPGA,” Telles said, referring to the Ladies Professional Golf Association. “That’s my goal right now. I’m going to give myself a couple years deadline to do that. I just need to focus more on golf. I’m pretty determined.”

Four years ago, Telles took her determination to Oregon State University.

“I wanted to go out of state,” Telles said. “But Oregon State gave me the best scholarship. And it also turned out to be the best fit. I got along really well with the coaches and the team.”

But there was just one problem. One good-natured problem, that is.

Telles’ older brother, Isaiah, who also was a Tualatin High School golf standout, played his collegiate golf at the University of Oregon.

“He gave me some crap about that. He still does,” Telles said with a laugh. “But he’s always been supportive.”

And Telles may have needed support, as she made the transition from high school to collegiate golf.

“There’s a really big difference,” she said. “The time commitment is huge. It’s more of a job. They give you a schedule for four years, and you live by that schedule.”

And, with women’s golf being an all-year sport at OSU, that schedule included a lot of travel.

“Our team, baseball and softball missed the most classes,” Telles said. “Time management was huge. You have to give up friends, or school, but I always wanted to represent the school well and be at my best.”

Telles got her collegiate career off to a strong start, as she had top-10 finishes in her first two tournaments as an OSU freshman. Things got even better that year, as she tied for medalist honors at the Washington National Individual Championship with a two-over-par round of 74.

Telles finished her freshman season with a team-best scoring average of 75.81, which was the lowest average for a freshman in Oregon State history.

As a sophomore, Telles had a scoring average of 76.46, which was second best on the team and tied for ninth best in OSU single-season history.

As a junior, Telles put her name in the OSU record book, as she set a single-season record with her scoring average of 75.27. That year, she also had the second-best three-round score in school history with her two-under-park mark of 214 at the Oregon State Invitational.

Telles then finished her collegiate career in a big way, as, in her senior year, she broke her own single-season scoring record with her average of 74.79.

“My scoring average was better this year, but I think I performed better in my junior year,” she said. “I didn’t really reach my peak in college.”

Photo Credit: SCOBEL WIGGINS - PLAYING STRONG -- Tualatin High School graduate Seshia-Lei Telles had a record-setting career during her four-year stint playing for the women's golf team at Oregon State University. In addition to her record-setting scoring totals, Telles also played in all 47 OSU tournaments during her four-year career.

“I expected that to happen,” she said. “No one wants to stay home and miss a tournament.”

Another tournament Telles didn’t miss was this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, held Aug. 4-10 at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y.

Telles earned her spot in the U.S. Amateur field by tying for second place, with a two-over-par score of 74, at the U.S. Amateur sectional qualifying event held July 15 at Pumpkin Ridge.

That marked the second time that Telles made it to the U.S. Amateur, as she also played in the 2012 event held in Ohio.

“I’m glad I got to go back,” she said. “I felt more relaxed this year. I knew I could play with the top girls.”

Still, Telles didn’t get off to a great start at this year’s U.S. Amateur event, as she carded a seven-over-par round of 77 in the first of two stroke-play qualifying rounds.

But she got some good advice later that day.

“I walked to Isaiah by phone,” she said, adding that her older brother sometimes caddies for her. “He told me that nine-over would probably be the cut (for advancing to match play). He told me to keep it simple, and just hit the ball into the hole. My goal that second day was to play even-par.”

Telles shot a double bogey on the first hole of her second round, but she bounced back in a big way, carding four birdies in the round to finish with a one-under-par score of 69, which earned her a spot in the match-play field.

“When I made the cut, I was pretty happy,” she said.

In the first round of match play, Telles fell 6 and 4 to Casey Danielson of Osceola, Wisc.

“I wasn’t on my game,” Telles said. “And Casey played really well.”

Telles had a special fan with her at the U.S. Amateur in her mother, Michele Telles.

“That was fun,” Seshia-Lei Telles said. “It was nice to have her there with me. She hadn’t been with me at a big tournament like that.”

That family support seems to be special.

“It’s important,” said Seshia-Lei, who has three older siblings. “My parents have been really supportive, and that really helps.”

Also important have been Telles’ coaches at Oregon State, including former Beavers head coach Risë Alexander and former assistant coach Kailin Downs.

“They’ve been my best mentors,” Telles said.

While playing at the U.S. Amateur, Telles missed the deadline for applying to play in the LPGA Qualifying School.

“I was going to do that, but the deadline was the day before,” Telles said.

But, while missing out on that opportunity, Telles will still be keeping very busy.

She wants to finish up her degree in Public Health, as well as doing an internship. And, of course, there’s golf.

Telles, who is staying in Corvallis, still practices at the OSU facilities.

“They let me practice for free,” said Telles, who added that she’s planning to moving to Arizona in December or January. “And I’ll just keep playing qualifiers.”

Telles played in the 2014 Portland Classic Amateur Open, held Monday at Langdon Farms. Despite not playing since the U.S. Amateur, Telles finished fourth in Monday’s one-round tourney with a one-over-par score of 73. That put her two shots back of tourney winner Gigi Stoll.

“My putting was horrible,” Telles said. “But I was only a couple strokes away.”

And, for Telles, with that, it’s on to the next golf destination.



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