Maribel Lopez Porras made a special trip from her home in Bogota, Colombia to be at the Judson Collegiate this week. The cause was that close to her heart.
Porras, a recent Tulane graduate, met tournament host Lauren Judson, a Southern Mississippi player, when both schools were part of Conference USA. As Porras closed out her college career with a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championship earlier this spring, Judson stepped in to do a bit of recruiting.
The Judson Collegiate is played each summer as a tribute to Judson’s parents, who died in 2010 in a small-plane crash. The four-day event pairs collegians with Legends Tour players, and is co-hosted by 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup captain Rosie Jones. This year, 51 college players teed it up next to 30 Legends Tour players for the pro-am, then went on to play a 54-hole stroke-play competition.
“Whenever I heard about this tournament, I wanted to play in it so bad,” Porras explained.
After finishing runner-up in the Bucaramanga (Colombia) Open, Porras returned stateside to tee it up in Roswell, Ga. Travel arrangements were made last minute as Porras’ attempt to get a Canadian visa for the upcoming Canadian Women’s Amateur nearly prevented the trip.
Porras shot 1-over 213 for 54 holes at the Country Club of Roswell in Roswell, Ga. Her second-round 67 gave her a two-shot lead. She widened that gap July 15 with a final-round 72 that left her four shots ahead of runner-up Laura Restrepo, a Louisville sophomore. Alabama’s Hannah Collier was third another shot back.
“(Country Club of Roswell) has a couple of really good holes,” Porras explained. The course suited her game, but the cause meant far more.
“You could see how everyone in Roswell, all her loved ones were there,” Porras said of the Judsons’ hometown. “… It was nice.”
As for Porras, her Tulane career over, the end of her amateur career also is quickly approaching. Upon returning to Colombia, Porras will cool her heels for a week before teeing it up at the Canadian Women’s Amateur at the end of July. Then it’s back home once again for the Bogota Open before relocating to Palm Springs, Calif., to prepare for LPGA Q-School.