SOMERS, N.Y. – Golfer Nathan Han, a two-time state champion at Somers High School, picked up right where he left off during his first year of college, earning honors and breaking records at Columbia University.
Han not only led the Lions in stroke average (72.69) and top-25 finishes (four) but that stroke average was a first-year record for his school. He was also named to the Northeast All-Region team. Despite Han being in the Lions lineup right away, balancing the time commitments of academics and athletics proved to be difficult for him initially.
“I think the first couple of weeks, probably a month or so, was definitely a transitional period,” Han said. “I think a lot of learning from what the coach [Rich Mueller] said is best to do, what upperclassmen on the team said is best to do, and kind of listening to them and how they progressed through college was important and was a big part of how I could possibly manage those two aspects. Definitely the first month was more difficult, but as time progressed you kind of just get used to it. You begin to go through the motions together.”
Han was one of two first years on the golf team, with the other being Alvin Kwak. While Han is very self-motivated, he and Kwak have pushed each other.
“We’re always pretty neck and neck in terms of battling out in tournaments or in qualifying,” Han said. “We’ve been friends for a good amount of time as well. It’s a friendly rivalry but we’re both definitely trying to beat each other.”
Han has also changed how he works out. Instead of focusing on power and speed, he now focuses more on strength. This has led to an improvement in his driving abilities and shots off the tee.
“Something growing up I kind of struggled with was that I was a short hitter and I wouldn’t be very accurate as a short hitter,” Han said. “In college I definitely performed well off the tee. I got a lot longer this year. I definitely feel comfortable and thought that driving was a continuing strength I could always rely on through tournaments.”
Han wants to continue improving his strength, shot distance, and consistency in ball striking. He also wants to keep lower his stroke average. His big goal for the team and as an individual is making the national championship.
“I think our team is very capable of doing that and I think we’re definitely in a position where we can make a push onto the national stage,” Han said. “That goes obviously with winning the Ivy League Championship and performing well in regionals as well.”
Han, who is currently ranked 487th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, is planning to pursue professional golf for two years after college. Occupation-wise, he wants to get a job in the business realm involving mathematics, statistics, and/or data. Han was disappointed that most of his spring season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but did earn the Terminello Award for team MVP.
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