Casie Cathrea won’t return to the Oklahoma State roster this spring. Instead, the 18-year-old will remain home in Livermore, Calif., and continue work with her trainers and coaches. With her immediate focus turned to a U.S. Curtis Cup selection, Cathrea said she hopes to experience greater growth in her game outside of the Cowgirls team.
Still, Cathrea called leaving Stillwater, Okla., earlier this month one of the toughest decisions she has made.
“I cried for probably eight hours straight coming home,” said Cathrea, who has sported the Oklahoma State logo (as well as Cowgirls orange) in most events she has played since committing in 2011.
The Cowgirls were No. 11 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings after the fall season, and Cathrea was ranked 36th individually. She played in three of four events for Oklahoma State, going T-12, T-9, T-12.
“There are a lot of expectations and demands on how to balance golf academics and training on a Division I student-athlete,” Oklahoma State head coach Courtney Jones said. “This is easier for some than for others. We wish Casie the best as she continues to grow and develop as a person and an athlete.”
Cathrea committed to Oklahoma State when Alan Bratton was head coach. Bratton took the head men’s job last year as Jones, who spent the past two seasons as Bratton’s assistant, was promoted to the head of the women’s program. The Cowgirls finished in the top three in their first two events of the fall before winning the inaugural Schooner Classic. They continue to climb the rankings.
Cathrea was one of 14 female amateurs invited to a U.S. Curtis Cup practice session Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Champions Golf Club in Houston. Making that team has become a motivator. Outside of that, Cathrea will continue to practice in California, and also will continue to work on her swing with Justin Poynter, director of instruction at the Jim McLean Golf Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
The next few months will be devoted to practice and perhaps a few professional events. Cathrea plans to play a few Symetra Tour events as well as chase sponsor exemptions for an LPGA event or two. Chief among those is the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic to be hosted at Lake Merced Golf Club this year, about an hour from Livermore. Cathrea shot a course-record 66 there at the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior. She will try to defend her San Francisco City Amateur title next month.
“I’m happy that I’m home,” Cathrea said.