Piece written by Erin Dunne, UD Athletics Media Relations Student Intern

University of Delaware women’s golfer Nathalie Filler (Bloomfield, Conn/Westminster) putted her way into the history books recently as the junior set high standards for the Blue Hens at the Tignanelli Towson Invitational.

Photo Courtesy Mark Campbell

In a mere 36 holes, Filler managed to change Delaware women’s golf forever by earning the team’s first-ever individual medal. The Hens bested 15 other schools during the two-day invitational on Sept. 7-8, with Filler leading the pack with an impressive two over par score of 71-75 in the tournament.

After tying for third place in the Towson Invitational in 2012, Filler clearly came back with a vengeance and desire to overcome this obstacle.

Filler speaks of her success with pride, remarking, “I was close to winning the tournament my freshman year, but played horribly on the second day and placed third overall. This time around, I knew what kind of score I had to earn and how I needed to shoot in order to win.”

Regarding her historical medal, Filler expressed joy, coupled with a proud smile, at earning this title, stating, “I was extremely excited to say I made history, especially after my past experience with the Towson Invitational, and I look forward to the tournaments I will be playing in ahead.”

Filler earned her way right into the national attention of Golfweek.com, which noted her extreme improvement since last year.

Filler speaks about the change herself, saying, “golf is a tough game. There is a huge difference between two seemingly close scores, like an 80 and a 79, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where you have changed until your score really moves.”

The game of golf certainly changes day by day and as Filler says, “golf can be absolutely horrible to you one round, but then you may play your best round the next day.”

Filler undoubtedly came out to face this season on fire, after a summer structured around golf. Her achievement could potentially be

attributed to the summer she spent by professional golfer Suzy Whaley’s side, serving as an intern for the renowned instructor’s training camp.

Photo Courtesy Nathalie Filler

Whaley is a celebrated female golfer, who set her own history in women’s golf as one of the first women to ever accomplish playing in a PGA event. Whaley and her husband, Bill, run the training program, serving as a golfing power couple who have taken Filler under their wing.

After a rough end to last season for Filler, complete with a broken wrist that required surgery and almost a month out of the game for recovery, the internship could not have presented itself at a better time.

Filler was able to gain the influence of Whaley through assisting her in instruction of other hopeful golfers and receiving instruction herself under Whaley’s guidance.  Though Nathalie has been playing golf since she can remember and has received Whaley’s instruction for years now, she says that her summer as an intern has changed her perspective on the game.

Photo Courtesy Nathalie Filler

Whaley runs multiple programs to instruct women in developing their skills and learning the game, so Filler experienced teaching golf first hand. Her internship allowed her to work with women of all ages, educating them on learning the game and maybe even picking up a few new tips herself.

Filler described her experience as a positive one, stating that Whaley welcomed different ideas from her interns, allowed them to control teaching, and even let them observe her and her husband instruct hopeful golfers. Filler was able to experience golf from the instructor’s side and master the art of teaching the game.

Filler recalls the internship experience by saying, “it really assisted me in having a new attitude towards the game because it taught me to appreciate being on the course, even on a bad day.”

Not only this, but Filler was able to significantly improve her game after surgery, through a change in her stroke style. The main improvement Filler had in her game was the perfection of a wrist hinge, an essential part of the upper half of a golfer’s stroke.

Upon her arrival back to practice at Delaware, head coach Patty Post noticed the changes immediately and all she had to say was “wow.” 

Post expresses the dramatic change in Nathalie’s stroke style, noting how hard she worked to perfect her wrist hinge.

“Nathalie is a hard worker, a leader who puts extra effort in on all accounts, and leads by example,” shares Post. 

As her fall season continues, Filler will advance to play in the next four tournaments, a spot that was secured by her recent success. After competing in the Tignanelli Towson Invitational as an individual whose scores were not counting in the team’s total, Filler will play in the Blue Hens’ second spot this weekend at the Diane Thomason Invitational hosted by the University of Iowa.

Photo Courtesy Nathalie Filler

This summer clearly changed Nathalie’s game for the better, as demonstrated by her recent success at Towson. As the Blue Hens’ season progresses, Filler looks excitedly towards the season with this fresh summer perspective, keeping the team’s best intentions in mind.

“As a team we support each other, and we keep one another’s spirit high, even on bad days,” Filler articulates.

Though golf appears to be an individualized sport, Filler says, “when one of us is having a rough time in the game, it affects the entire team,” clearly highlighting the importance of team support and the necessity of peer encouragement on and off the green.

Post believes the team is set for a great rest of the season, saying, “This event proves that it is possible for anyone on the team to succeed in the same way,” and encourages the girls to bring their best to each round they play.

Filler also is enthusiastic about securing her spot on the tournament squad for the rest of the season and is ready to lead the rest of her teammates to drive towards more historical success for the UD women’s golf program.