Jamie Farr could be rookie's big break

Jamie Farr could be rookie's big break


Jamie Farr could be rookie's big break

July 1-4

Location: Highland Meadows Golf Club, Sylvania, Ohio

Notes: A field of 148 professionals and two amateurs compete for $1 million and a first-place prize of $150,000. The course features tricky dogleg holes, and small and sloppy green complexes.

Six former champions are playing this week, including defending champion Eunjung Yi. Yi became a Rolex first-time winner last year when she defeated Morgan Pressel in a one-hole playoff. In 2010, Yi’s best finish is a tie for 21st at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Lately, she has struggled with her game, missing the last three cuts. Paula Creamer (2008), Mi Hyun Kim (2006), Heather Bowie Young (2005), Meg Mallon (2004) and Brandi Burton (1993) are the other Jamie Farr champions in the field.

Rolex Rankings No. 3 Jiyai Shin is the highest-ranked player in the field. Shin held the No. 1 position for seven weeks before yielding the spot to Ai Miyazato. Cristie Kerr claimed the top ranking on the strength of her LPGA Championship victory last week. Shin was forced to withdraw from the LPGA State Farm Classic three weeks ago for an emergency appendectomy. After missing two tournaments, she returned to play last week at the LPGA. Admittedly playing through pain, Shin carded an impressive finish – a tie for third.

Rookie Mallory Blackwelder, playing on a sponsor exemption, makes her first LPGA start of the season. Blackwelder is the daughter of LPGA member Myra Blackwelder, who was an LPGA rookie in 1980.

Amateur Jessica Korda also received a sponsor exemption, while local amateur Alyssa Shimel shot 74 in the Monday qualifier to advance to tournament play on Thursday.

Since I last wrote from Atlantic City, I have been to Defiance, Ohio, to play in the Ohio Women’s Open, and to Providence, R.I., for a pro-am. At the moment, I am sitting in the Providence airport waiting for my delayed flight to Chicago to depart. Unfortunately, I have been here for about 4 1/2 hours now, and I still have at least another one to go!

Last week, I had a very successful tournament in Ohio. I shot even-par 142 (74-68) and finished second by one shot. The final round was an interesting one. I couldn’t seem to get off to a good start either day but pulled it together on the back nine in both rounds. In the final round, my nine-hole scores were 37-31. I made six birdies on the back nine and really got my confidence up!

Today I played in the CVS pro-am in Providence. I had such a great time with my group, and we were actually the low round of the morning wave of tee times! The pro-am was a great experience because there was a mixture of PGA and LPGA pros. It was nice to be able to meet some of the PGA guys and mix it up with them a little bit. It also made my team’s low round of the morning feel even better because we beat the guys!

Ever wonder what life is like for an LPGA rookie? Well, Mallory Blackwelder is here to tell you. Blackwelder, 22, will file a weekly diary on Golfweek.com to give you an insider’s view of life on the LPGA, LET and Duramed Futures Tour. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/MalBlackwelder.

This week, I will be playing my first LPGA event of the season at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. Having played in the Jamie Farr once before as an amateur, it feels good to be familiar with the town and the golf course.

I am very excited to play this week and get the opportunity to compete against the best players and try to play well enough to gain some better status for the remainder of the season and also an opportunity to qualify for the British Open.

At the Jamie Farr, there is a qualifier within the first two days of the tournament. The top five players after the first two days not otherwise exempt into the British Open get in. This tournament could really mean a lot for the rest of my season, and I am hoping to take advantage of the opportunity I got with the sponsor exemption.

I am looking forward to having the support of some friends and family in Toledo, and hope to have a great week!


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