We are six weeks into 2014 and it’s starting out as a great year. I have a lot of expectations for myself this year, so I really haven’t taken any time off from golf. I have practiced straight through the cold and rainy days, trying to stay sharp for our season opener this week in Tallahassee.
Last month, I was honored in Atlanta by the Georgia State Golf Association. I won the 2013 girls and women’s player of the year as well as sharing the Tommy Barnes Award with Doug Hanzel. All of the awards are special to me, but the Tommy Barnes Award is special because it’s awarded to the state’s top amateur. It’s named after one of the greatest amateur to ever play golf from Georgia. Sharing any honor with Doug Hanzel is special because he won the USGA Senior Amateur for the second year in a row.
Right after the banquet in Atlanta, I flew to Paradise Island to play in the Monday qualifier for the LPGA Pure Silk – Bahamas Classic. I was awarded a sponsor exemption as the only amateur in the field of 15 professionals for two spots. I had the pleasure of playing with Jenny Suh for the first time. Jenny played great and shot 68 to win the qualifier and then went on to finish top 10 in the tournament. I shot 1-under 72 to miss the last spot by two shots. I got off to a rough start on the front nine, but was able to play the last eight holes 3 under. Even though I didn’t make it, I was glad I shot under par and I know that the mistakes I made are correctable. After the qualifier I was invited to help with a junior clinic hosted by RBC. Most of the kids were just learning the game and it was fun to show them some different shots and answer some questions from the group. That’s something I am looking forward to doing more of in the future. The trip ended sooner than I had hoped, but I took away some valuable advice from some LPGA players that were nice enough to spend some time with me.
I went back to Clemson for a week to try and catch up on school. Then it was on the road again to Houston for the first ever Curtis Cup practice session. It was hosted at the Champions Golf Club by Jackie and Robin Burke. Captain Ellen Port and Assistant Liz Carl were fantasic and made sure that everything went as smoothly as possible dealing with 14 college girls. I had a great time at the practice session. It was a great experience to play alongside the greatest amateurs in the game and we had some great matches! It was a treat to get to learn from Mr. Burke and hear some of his stories throughout the weekend. I think I gained a few pounds from all of the good food. We were treated first class the entire weekend.
Our first match is this weekend in Tallahasee, Fla., and will be hosted by FSU. The team has been qualifying and working hard to get prepared for the event. We can’t wait to put on the orange and purple and tee it up again as Lady Tigers!
“There are only two options regarding commitment. Either you’re in or you’re out. There’s no such thing in life as in-between.”- pat Riley