Wow! I can’t believe it’s already the beginning of the season. It feels like just yesterday I was getting my LPGA card in Daytona and this past week I just finished my first event as a full member. I enjoyed my short off season working with a personal trainer and working on my game with my husband/caddie/instructor, Travis.
The first event was held just a few hours away from where I live in Ocala, Florida at Golden Ocala. The course was absolutely beautiful and had 8 replica holes from famous courses such as Augusta and St. Andrews. The proam Gala dinner was held early in the week where I got to meet John Travolta and his wife. I watched Grease over and over again as a kid and it was surreal meeting Danny Zuko in person. My best friend, Alex, was the sponsor invite for this week so we got to play practice rounds together. We have traveled together the last 4 years on the Symetra Tour and this is the only event we will play together this year so we had to make it worthwhile!
By the time Wednesday (the first round) came around, I felt prepared and ready to go. What I didn’t expect was how many people would be there, family, friends I hadn’t seen for awhile, past host families, and fans who watched me on Big Break. I think I was a little overwhelmed during my first round and never quite focused on each shot. I had a lot of silly mistakes and found my score added up to 79 with no birdies. Not the start I had in mind but it’s the first round of the year and I was in a completely new setting that I’m not used to. Regardless, I kept a smile on my face all day. How many people can say they get to play on the LPGA for a living?! I’m living an awesome life and a score doesn’t define me as a person, it’s just a number. I took my knowledge I learned from the first day, and focused one shot at a time on my second round. I played much better shooting 72. Unfortunately, I missed the cut by 3 but it was a great learning experience. The best part is that I have a whole year out here and this tournament doesn’t determine my year. I am excited to take what I learned this week and use it to help me in future events.
This week I’ll be in the Bahamas at Atlantis. I played in the Monday Qualifier last year and played really well but lost in a playoff. I’m excited to return this year to a beautiful place and am eager to play. Make sure to follow lpga.com and watch on Golf Channel starting Thursday.
The LPGA created PODs for rookies/new players to make us more comfortable on tour. We are grouped into 4 players, an LPGA staff member, current player, and retired player. I am very fortunate to have Nancy Lopez and Stacy Lewis as my mentors this year. Our POD enjoyed dinner together the night before the first event started. We were able to pick their brains a little bit and hopefully use them as a resource this year to make things a little bit smoother. Thank you to my awesome host family David and Brenda for housing me for the week! I truly enjoy the friendships I have developed with host families and I can’t thank them enough for being so gracious and opening up their home to me! Also thank you to Coates and R.L. Carriers for sponsoring the event. It was a first class event and an awesome way to start out the year. The crowds were amazing and it’s great to see how many people support the LPGA.