Jennifer Song comes across as one of the most mature, disciplined 20-year-olds you’ll ever meet. She’s a world away from 15-year-old Alexis Thompson, the Curtis Cup teammate who turned pro on the same day.
While it’s unfair to judge these two players solely on their professional debuts, it’s an interesting observation. Song gained all the confidence in the world by winning a Duramed Futures Tour event with a career-low 61. Meanwhile, Thompson drove onto the LPGA scene in a race car at the ShopRite Calssic, only to run out of gas on Saturday with a missed cut.
No one can dispute the amount of talent these two possess. It’s more a question of maturity.
Both will compete in next week’s U.S. Women’s Open. Song, of course, was low amateur last year and can compete on her exemption as a professional because she finished inside the top 15. Thompson is already a veteran of three U.S. Opens.
Song notched nine birdies in her bogey-free final round June 20 in Decatur, Ill. She met Stanford assistant coach Salimah Mussani at the Curtis Cup and learned she owned the scoring record at Hickory Point Golf Club – 16-under 272. Going into the final round, Song aimed to break that record.
“I was focused more on the present than any other round in my life,” said Song, who finished at 19 under.
Angela Stanford (2000), Jimin Kang (’02) and Katherine Hull (’03) also won their professional debuts on the Futures Tour.
Following her victory, Song chowed down on Panera Bread and watched the new “Karate Kid” film. The following week she tied for fifth in Indiana and is currently 13th on the money list. With six events left on the Futures Tour schedule, Song could avoid Q-School altogether if she keeps up the current pace.
Right now she’s at Oakmont, preparing for a course that’s sure to test every ounce of her mental strength. She’s spending time with her older brother, Albert, an Industrial Design student at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. And playing with her new toy: a MacBook Pro.
“I’m super happy about that,” she said. Not that she has any studying left to do; Song left USC after two years.
The only things she has to study this week are the Oakmont greens. And there will be a test.