Following in her father’s footsteps, sophomore Madison Pineda has paved the way for Lehigh women’s golf this season.
In the Patriot League Championship, Lehigh placed third, with Pineda fueling the team’s success. Pineda tied for seventh place at 4 over par, breaking a Lehigh women’s golf record with a second round score of 71.
Pineda and her first-year teammate Yuki Zhu became the first Lehigh women’s golfers to shoot under par in the same round in program history.
Pineda said this accomplishment demonstrates the team’s capabilities of breaking more records.
“Breaking the record together with Yuki in the last tournament unites the team even more,” Pineda said. “It helps positively influence our other teammates because together we have so much potential.”
Pineda leads Lehigh with a 77.35 scoring average this season and is one of two players to play all 20 competitive rounds for the Mountain Hawks.
She was named Patriot League Golfer of the Week after her seventh-place finish in Howard University’s Lady Bison Invitational that took place April 10-11.
During her rookie season, Pineda had a 76.64 scoring average, the second-lowest single season mark in program history. She was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Patriot League last year and won the John S. Steckbeck Award as Lehigh’s top first-year female athlete.
Pineda said she attributes her success to her parents, especially her father who influenced the start of her golfing career.
“I owe it all to my parents,” Pineda said. “They have done so much for me to get me where I am today, and I think I would be nowhere without them.”
Pineda’s father, Roger, played Division I golf at the University of the Pacific and is now a professional golf instructor.
Pineda said her father has not only been her greatest supporter but has also served as her coach for the past 10 years.
“He is always there for me and is always willing to help me,” Pineda said. “If I have a slight problem, I can just call him, and it’s super easy to get a lesson whenever I need.”
Despite her father’s influence, Pineda said she did not initially love golf and it took some time before she realized how much she enjoyed playing the game.
Once Pineda entered high school she realized she wanted to pursue a collegiate golf career. Pineda said she wanted to attend Lehigh after connecting with women’s golf head coach Mary Kate Lynch.
Lynch takes notice to Pineda’s hard work and dedication. Lynch said Pineda inspires everyone around her and strives to be the best at anything she puts her mind to.
“By leading by example of what it takes to compete at a high level, Madison works harder than anyone else,” Lynch said. “She knows how to address her weaknesses and not be afraid to work on them to improve.”
Lynch said she admires Pineda’s ability to beat her opponents mentally on the golf course and her ability to strike the ball.
After each tournament, Pineda said she pinpoints what areas she did not perform well in. She regularly discusses with her coaches aspects of her game that need work and frequently reads golf books to advance her skills and strengthen her mindset.
Women’s golf junior Meghna Grover said the team plays better because of Pineda’s influential motivation to succeed.
“Her contagious love for golf has trickled into all of our performances,” Grover said. “I know I have fallen more in love with golf since (Pineda) has been on the team and playing with her.”