At the collegiate level, first team All-Conference is a prestigious title for a golfer, one which Abigail Rigsby, a fifth-year senior playing for Oklahoma Christian University, received this year.
“That and making it to Nationals as an individual my freshman year are probably my two biggest achievements since I’ve been here,” Rigsby said. “It’s a pretty big deal to make first team All-Conference.”
The road to such a level of achievement is rarely without obstacles.
“I got sick at regionals my freshman year. I broke my foot sophomore year. … I hurt my back and I had to take my senior year off,” Rigsby said. “I’ve only finished one full season of golf; knock on wood, this will be my second.”
As much as they have impeded her in recent years, Rigsby may partly have her history of injuries to thank for starting golf at all.
“I had a lot of concussions at a young age so I couldn’t play contact sports anymore and my sister played golf,” Rigsby said. “So, I just kind of took it up since she was playing and really enjoyed it.”
Rigsby began practicing for and participating in tournament golf when she was 12 years old. Today, she continues her dedication to the sport.
“I treat it like a full-time job,” Rigsby said. “Unless we’re indoors I try to be on a course anywhere between four and eight hours a day.”
Rigsby aspires to make it an actual full-time job and play professionally.
“The goal when I came to college was to go to a school that was going to get me to the level that I needed to be at to turn pro and be around the right people,” Rigsby said. “As soon as I got here, I bonded really well with Greg (Lynn, head coach,) and the team and it was just the right fit.”
Anyone with similar ambitions has more than a few decisions to make, the first of which may be the most significant.
“Just go for it,” Rigsby said. “If you have a goal or a dream, even if you think it’s something far-fetched or unattainable, at least give it a shot. … It could happen, you just have to give it a go and see what you can do with it.”
Of course, support is important too. Rigsby says her main supporters have been Lynn and her family.
“They’ve invested a lot of time and money and support into my career, and I couldn’t have done it without them,” Rigsby said. “Greg and his son David, they’ve been like a second family to me since I’ve been here.”
Most people would be grateful for such hospitality. It may, however, mean a little more to an international student over 2000 miles from her home in British Columbia.
“I moved away from home at 17 so I had to grow up quicker than I feel most people do when they go to a college in the next state or just down the road from the family,” Rigsby said. “Mostly because my family was in a different country and now with COVID-19 I don’t really get to see them anymore. So, I had to learn how to tough it out when things are going well.”
Tough times continued as Rigsby became sick the day of regionals her freshman year, but she continued to play through the entire round.
“I just kept powering through. I didn’t stop and then a couple of days later, Greg had to take me to the hospital which is why I didn’t get to go to Nationals,” Rigsby said. “I would say that probably best encapsulates my whole demeanor that I’ll just tough it out through anything.”
It just so happened that the picture used for Oklahoma Christian’s recap article was of Rigsby shortly after she had gotten sick.
“It’s funny because it was the only picture that I think was taken that day. And it’s Greg and I, and I look terrible,” Rigsby said.
The same photo wound up being used for another article the following year.
“I was like ‘it’ll chase me forever!’ We joke about that round even still five years later,” Rigsby said.
Hopefully in the future we too can smile with friends back on the tough times of today and tomorrow and also be glad that we did not let our knowledge that those days would come deter us from pursuing our dreams.