Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Sharpened Mental Game Leads to Success for SMCC's Angelina Borg-Malec

Sharpened Mental Game Leads to Success for SMCC's Angelina Borg-Malec


Golf legend Arnold Palmer once said, "Success in this game depends less on strength of body than strength of mind and character." The adage applies to Angelina Borg-Malec, a South Mountain Community College women's golf team sophomore. An improved mental game and preparation paid off in four fall 2023 tournament victories and positions her for a successful 2024 spring season.

Originally from Courchevel, France, Borg-Malec first picked up a club at six and quickly fell in love with the game. An uncle mentored her early, but the French Alps allowed golf only four months per year. In high school, when she moved to live with her father, she could play more regularly.

Upon graduation, Borg-Malec knew she wanted to play collegiately. She spoke with a scholarship agency that put her in touch with schools and led to Zoom meetings with coaches from around the US.

"SMCC stood out for its great golf weather, a beautiful campus, and it felt like home," she added.

This past summer, Borg-Malec returned home and recorded a notable achievement: carding an under-par score over 18 holes. That confidence gave her a goal for the fall season: win the first tournament.

"I started working with a sports psychologist, Philipe Magert, and had that belief in myself to win the event," she said. At the season-opening Aguila Classic, she posted a +15 (159) to edge a rival from Chandler-Gilbert CC by one stroke.

The following week, she captured the Tucson Invitational Title with a score of +5 (75) at the single-day event at Silverbell Golf Course.

The third fall tournament presented a unique experience for Borg-Malec and the other competitors: 36 holes over one day. She posted a +6 in the first round and a +4 in the second round, battling directly head-to-head with her closest competitor. 

"We were all square through 18 holes, but she took the lead early in the second round, and I had to rally for the victory," she said. "It was very special for me. I took two strokes from her over the final three holes. I focused on my breathing, and went through some meditation on the tee box. I felt wired. I knew I was going to win."

She sank a birdie on 16 and got a break on 17 when her opponent missed a par putt. On the final hole and 36th of the day, she claimed her third tournament of the fall season by one stroke at +10 (152).

"I caught up with her on the 16th hole, and she was fired up about being one stroke off the lead," said SMCC head coach Allen Ferguson. "She told me she really wanted to win and it was exciting to see her competitive fire. She went out and did it, which reflects her personality. Her work ethic during practice is strong and she stays focused. She is all business on the course."

Borg-Malec wrapped up the fall season with a win at the Mesa Invitational, taking the 27-hole event at +6 (114) with a +2 (74) over the final 18 holes.

Last season, Borg-Malec enjoyed a stellar freshman spring campaign. She earned First Team All-ACCAC, All-Region I, and All-Southwest District honors. She also represented SMCC at the 2023 NJCAA Division II National Championships at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City, Kan.

The first day of the event was challenging as competitors battled windy conditions.

"The first round was tough. It was very stressful. I was the youngest player in the field, but it was a good experience to be with my coach and teammate," she explained. "I enjoyed that time, and it gave me the desire to continue what I am doing. That tournament made me understand what I want to do: play professional golf.

Borg-Malec welcomed two new teammates to the fold this fall and has bonded quickly with both, especially freshman Lili Stutz.

"She understands me without saying a word," Borg-Malec explained. "We are all such good friends."

After Brady Edwards left SMCC to accept an assistant coach position at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., she also had to welcome a new head coach, Ferguson.

"I have enjoyed working with Allen. He is a really good guy that is super supportive and helps me with my problems. He also helped me with my driving test and getting my driver's license," she added.

"Angelina is open to coaching and learning new things. She doesn't think she can't learn something new, and that is such a pleasure," Ferguson added. "She loves to talk through her shots and have someone reading the greens with her." 

Borg-Malec has clear goals for the upcoming spring 2024 season: qualify for the NJCAA National Championships and win ACCAC Player of the Year honors. She also wants to post a round under par in the US and continue her collegiate career at a four-year university. In addition to her work with the sports psychologist, she has a swing coach, William Eldrenkamp, to prepare her for the spring.

"I see a big difference between this year and last year. Last year was stressful, but I am more confident this year," Borg-Malec said. "I was impressed to see all the new things last year, but I know better this year and am way more confident in my life here."