PLANO, Texas – The AJGA doesn’t often come to Jordan Ferreira, so this week she went to them. Safe to say she’ll leave thoroughly exhausted, but then again, that was the point.
After the wind-blown first round of the Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship on Friday, Ferreira, of University Place, Wash., explained that playing the North Texas-based event was key in her college prep plans. She’s committed to Notre Dame for the fall of 2013, which means 36-hole days tournament days soon will be second nature. Ferreira is no stranger to those back home, mom Teresa explains, but not in tournament play.
“I wanted to play 36 holes,” Ferriera said simply. The Hunter Mahan junior is the only tournament on the AJGA schedule that features that format.
It just so happened that Ferreira and the rest of the field battled wind gusts of up to 30 mph Friday morning, which certainly should add to the fatigue factor. Nonetheless, Ferreira posted a 5-over 77 that left her in the 10th position on the leaderboard. After a quick lunch, she was ready to rebound during the second 18.
Ferreira is a familiar name in the Northwest — she was named the 2011 Junior Girl of the year by the Washington Golf Association after finishing runner-up at the Washington State 4-A High School Championship and qualifying for both the U.S. Women’s Amateur and Junior America’s Cup. She opened 2012 with a T-14 at the Annika Invitational, the first big event of the AJGA season. Ferreira held the first-round lead after a 2-under 70, but slipped down the leaderboard through the rest of the weekend with rounds of 75-78.
Ask Ferreira, 17, what accounts for the recent successes and you’ll hear this word at least a handful of times: everything. Ferreira began working with swing coach Joe Thiel (who also works with Nationwide Tour player Michael Putnam) about three years ago, and has spent considerable time putting the pieces back together after a thorough rebuilding process. That includes everything from her mental game to her swing path to her short game. Starting from the ground up has been a hard transition, and the results didn’t show until last summer, when everything finally clicked.
“I’ve been working really hard and I’ve just been waiting to see the results and they’re just starting to come,” she said.
Without dad Michael this week at the Hunter Mahan, Ferreira says she’s making her own way. Teresa knows little about golf, perhaps blissfully so, and thus provides only moral support.
“(Dad was) like, ‘You’re going off to college soon, you can’t be with me all the time,’ so I bring my mom because she knows nothing about golf,” Ferreira said. “I’m on my own here.”
Then she pulls the shamrock ball mark off the side of her cap. It’s not just for good luck, but a sign of her commitment to Notre Dame. It also was a gift from mom.