Approach Shot: Stephen Stallings
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Picture wide-open scenery, crisp blue skies meeting lush green landscape and the sun shining brighter than Doris Day. That’s where Stephen Stallings Jr. is in his element.
Stallings, a junior economics major, is a member of the UK Men’s Golf Team. While he will respond to Stephen, or even Stallzy, his coach and teammates jokingly refer to him as “Stallzipedia.”
“He is funny because he tends to know a little bit about everything, which makes people laugh,” said Coach Brian Craig, connecting Stallzipedia to Wikipedia. Craig said Stallings is definitely a teammate to keep spirits high during the golf season.
Stallings may know a little about everything, especially if that includes Tiger Woods’ golf game. Stallings’ favorite golfer to mold his playing style around is Woods. Stallings even added that if he could be paired with any golfer in the world, it would be Woods. If Stallings could travel anywhere in the world and play one golf course, it would be Pebble Beach.
Stallings never met the 14-time Major Championship winner, though he has met former professional golfer Arnold Palmer and former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Farve. Stallings even seized an autograph from Farve.
For Stallings, a passion for sports runs in the family. His father, Stephen Stallings, was a member of the LSU golf team and Stallings’ uncle, Gerry Willinger, was a football player at Cornell University.
So, why did Stallings decide to play golf for UK? Beyond the university being located right down the road from his hometown of Louisville, Ky., and all of the blue golf gear, Stallings said one of the perks about playing golf at UK is the luxurious golf facility and the talented coaches.
To say that UK’s golf facility and coaches have helped Stallings develop as a player is an understatement. “He has improved as much as anybody I have ever seen,” Craig said. “He has done it because he has great work ethic. If you followed him around for a week you’d see why he has gotten better. The kid is super-driven,”
Stallings isn’t all golf all the time. When he is not playing golf he enjoys playing Fifa on Xbox, watching his favorite movie “Furious 7,” and watching the one T.V. show he vows to never miss, HBO’s “Ballers.”