Story by Gopher Athletic Communications Student Assistant Ellen Larson
Freshman Evan Long grew up in a small rural city in Pennsylvania. This fall, the New Castle, Pa., native made his debut on the Gophers scoring roster at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, carding a career-best 72 in the first round.
Long sat down with Gopher Sports to talk about his first away tournament, the adjustment to college, and basketball.
Gopher Sports: Being from Pennsylvania, how did you decide on the University of Minnesota?
Evan Long: The coaches had a big effect in coming here, for me. The assistant coach [Justin Smith] is from within an hour of where I grew up, so that was a cool factor. We're both familiar with the same area and we share the same background.
GS: How did you get into golf?
EL: It was in my family. I started playing golf when I was probably 2 years old. My dad always had me out on a golf course before I was even 1. It's been something my dad always wanted me to do, and something that my family does.
GS: What do you like so far about being a Gopher?
EL: What's not to like? The school is great. So far, the weather has been good, but I know that's going to turn. We've played some really good golf courses, too. There's nothing that I don't like about it so far.
GS: What was it like at your first away tournament, the Alister MacKenzie Invitational?
EL: It was a different experience. The competition was probably as good as I thought it was going to be. It was an all-around good experience for me. I really enjoyed it.
GS: How is the school year going for you?
EL: The adjustment from high school to college is definitely a big adjustment for me. Coming from a small high school--not a lot of kids, I knew everybody--was kind of a shock to me. Obviously, college is tough for most people. I'm still trying to adjust to that.
GS: Do you have any plans as far as your major?
EL: Right now, my major is accounting, but it could change.
GS: How has the jump from high school to college golf been?
EL: College golf is much different than high school golf, for me. I grew up in a very rural town. There wasn't much in the way of golf--it was a football town. The matches we played were nine holes. This is definitely a lot more like the junior tournaments that I played in over the summer. Competition-wise, it's definitely better.
GS: Who's your favorite professional athlete?
EL: My favorite professional athlete has always been Luke Donald, ever since I was a little kid. Luke Donald has always been my favorite golfer.
GS: What do you like to do for fun?
EL: Besides golf, I like any sport, especially basketball. I used to play basketball and baseball growing up. Any time I have a some free time and some guys want to do it, basketball is always a hobby of mine.
GS: Who's your favorite basketball team?
EL: I support the Cleveland Cavaliers. I'm only two hours from Cleveland, and Pittsburgh doesn't have a basketball team. I definitely wouldn't be a 76ers fan. That's a ways away.
GS: What are you most looking forward to in the rest of the season?
EL: I would say getting back out there with the team and competing some more. It was a really good experience to get out to California and compete, so I'm looking forward to having the chance to do that again.
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