Southern work ethic, positive disposition keep sophomore successful, stress-free
There's nothing like a positive attitude to bring a person closer to success.
That work-hard, can-do ethic can take someone a lot further than negativity will. Sophomore Trey Denton of the Arizona men's golf team is the epitome of this glass-half-full approach to life. With a decent amount of success already this season, he has plenty of reasons to believe good things are still to come.
Denton hails from the South - Canton, Miss., to be exact. Arizona assistant coach John Knauer said he thinks Denton's Southern upbringing plays a key role in his work ethic.
"A 'yes, sir, no, ma'am' attitude," Knauer said. "His attitude has gotten him where he is."
Where that's got him so far this season is a ninth-place finish, tops among Wildcats, at the Big Ten-Pac-10 Challenge Oct. 3-4, not to mention a 27th-place finish, second on the team to All-America junior Henry Liaw, at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate the next week.
Just being a Southerner did not make Denton a golfing natural. He first started swinging clubs at around the age of 3. He began playing full rounds with his dad and taking lessons by 9.
Denton said he enjoys the sport because it allows you to be your own boss. He added that you can be as good as you want to be.
"It just takes so many hours to be good," Denton said.
The most difficult part of the game for him, he said, is getting everything to fall into place at once.
"All-around scoring is difficult, getting the ball in the hole in the least amount (of strokes) possible," he said. "You have to put it all together at the right time."
Trey Denton bio
Denton said he sees himself as a kind of success story. He didn't get to play a lot for Arizona last season until the end of the year, but stuck with it and is making an impact on this year's squad.
"I have gotten better. I'm setting a good example for the freshmen, to help them keep their head up," he said. "You can never give up."
Denton admits that it was hard to stay motivated in that situation.
"I thought I deserved to go (to tournaments) but there are also 17 other guys," he said. "You have to be ready to go when you get your chance."
Now for inspiration, Denton relies on his roommate, redshirt sophomore teammate Justin Silverstein.
"He always pumps me up when I'm down," Denton said. "He's just a great friend."
Denton admits that being a student-athlete is tough, but said the key is time management, a skill Knauer said he thinks Denton is a master of.
"That quality has gotten him here," Knauer said. "It's easier to work hard with that attitude.
"Life seems to be a little easier. He doesn't seem to be so stressed."
That attitude is something Denton said he carries with him when thinking about his place in the college-sports world.
"With college, it's almost like you are competing for a bigger purpose," Denton said. "With scholarships, you are getting paid to play. You better perform."
Denton looks to continue his success this season at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship on Friday, with his sights set on the goal of becoming an All-America selection.
"The (first) two tournaments he played solid but he didn't even play that great ... not playing his 'A' game and still having good finishes," Knauer said. "He will get better."
Other than golf, Denton said he spends his sparse free time inhaling as much Arizona sports action as he can take in, going to every on-campus sports function he can make.
You may also catch Denton watching some of his favorite movies, including "The Last Samurai" and "Gladiator."
Or maybe see him eating his favorite food - filet mignon, cooked medium, sans steak sauce.
Just because Denton is from the South doesn't mean that he automatically is a lover of country music. In fact, he swears he doesn't even like the genre that much, saying it is an incorrect assumption commonly made about Southerners.
Denton also said that golf isn't everything.
"My grandma always says you can't eat golf balls," said Denton, a regional development major. "So, I have to have an education to fall back on."
Denton has shown himself willing to work hard to improve his craft. When taking about his favorite part about playing golf, he employs a quote from Kevin Costner's character in the movie "Tin Cup."
"The feel of a good shot always brings you back," Denton said. "A tuning fork goes off in your loins."