U.S. Women’s Amateur champ Sophia Schubert goes international at Evian

Sophia Schubert Steven Gibbons/USGA

U.S. Women’s Amateur champ Sophia Schubert goes international at Evian

LPGA Tour

U.S. Women’s Amateur champ Sophia Schubert goes international at Evian

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France – Texas senior Sophia Schubert was on the practice putting green at Evian Golf Club when Juli Inkster came over for a quick chat. Much has changed for Schubert since she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur five weeks ago. 

It’s her first time out of the country for starters. Schubert’s victory at San Diego Country Club over Stanford’s Albana Valenzuela awarded her a spot in the Evian Championship field, her first LPGA event. She’s here with Texas teammate Agathe Laisne, who edged Valenzuela by one stroke at the European Ladies Championship. Valenzuela, a 2016 Olympian who calls nearby Geneva home, is also in the field at Evian.

The invitation was so last-minute for Schubert that her father, Bill, couldn’t get a passport in time to come to France, though the family enlisted the help of a senator. Bill, a regular at all of Schubert’s events, sadly missed the Women’s Amateur as well.

Schubert’s exuberant mother, Delisa, however, is at Evian as is Texas coach Ryan Murphy, who is back on caddie duty for Schubert.

Murphy first spotted Laisne on the range three years ago at the Doral-Publix Junior Golf Classic in Miami. She immediately stood out to Murphy, who describes Laisne’s swing as mechanically sound. It’s the Parisian’s feel, however, that was most impressive.

“The speed of her arms and the soft hands separates her,” said Murphy. “I think she’s naturally gifted in that category.”

Schubert and Laisne missed the first tournament of the season for the Longhorns, the Dick McGuire Invitational in New Mexico, but the pair are acquiring experiences that should make them even stronger come the postseason.

Schubert played a practice round with two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, and major winner, Danielle Kang on Tuesday. Kang said she explained what she calls “pocket golf,” to Schubert, that is hitting it to the correct segment of each green at Evian.

“She told me I was her favorite player,” said a flattered Kang, “so that was cool to hear.” 

When Schubert returned home to Tennessee after her victory in San Diego, more than 100 people stopped by the Fairways and Greens Golf Center in Knoxville to congratulate her. Schubert first picked up the game there at age 4 and has been a regular at the practice facility ever since.

At Central Baptist in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the pastor called her to the front of the church at the end of the service to be recognized. Back in Texas, Tom Kite approached Schubert at Austin Country Club and shook her hand, saying he watched the coverage.

Now she’s in awe that a Hall of Famer like Inkster, who was in the booth for Fox Sports at the Women’s Am, not only knows her name but is playing in the same field.

“It’s totally a dream come true,” said Schubert.

The only thing left to do: see her name on the unusually pretty Robert Cox Trophy. 

Apparently the USGA’s engraver went on vacation.

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