Junior diary: Battling The Blessings GC
Oh my goodness! I had a wonderful time this week and learned a lot about my game. The AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions was held at The Blessings Golf Club, which is the home course of the University of Arkansas golf team. Let me just tell you the course was so so so so hard! I think it is the hardest golf course to walk and to play that I will ever see. My friend Ani Gulugian, who played the U.S. Women’s Open last year and will play at UCLA next year, even said that it was harder than last year’s Open.
Anyway, my parents and I got to Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday night and played a practice round on Sunday. Knowing the course from last year, I had an idea of the strategies I wanted to use on the course. The practice round went wonderfully and I got to catch up with all my friends from around the world.
Emma Talley, 16, will file a diary each week this summer as she plays some of the premier junior events in the country.
Talley is a two-time Rolex Junior All-American and has four AJGA victories. In addition to her three wins in 2009, she posted a pair of runner-up finishes and advanced to the quarterfinals at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. She first broke 70 at the age of 11.
The first round started Tuesday and my tee time wasn’t until 1:30 p.m. Therefore, Monday morning was a long morning but it was worth the wait because I got to play with Marijosse Navarro from Texas and Luz Alejandra Cangrejo, one of my good friends from Colombia. I didn’t play very well on the front nine, shooting a 42, but I came back and shot 35 on the back side. After the first round I was tied for 13th. Yes, I said 13th after shooting a 77. That just shows you how hard the course was. The second day I had a great tee time (around 10 a.m.) and I played a lot better, but my score didn’t improve much. I shot 75 and was tied for eighth, which was good enough to make the cut.
For the third round, I was paired with Luz again, which was so much fun, but everyone was so exhausted. I shot 75 once again in the third round, which was good enough to keep me at tied for eighth. Going into the last round, my goal was to either stay at eighth place or get better. Unfortunately, I made a bogey on No. 15 (which was actually a good bogey), triple on No. 16, par on No. 17, and then a bogey on No. 18 to finish with an 8-over 80. That landed me in 11th place, but I couldn’t complain because it was with the best girls in the world. Of course I wanted to win, but maybe I’ll get ‘em next time!
I learned a lot about my game this week because I got to watch and experience some shots I thought I could hit, but didn’t turn out that great. I learned several new shots around the greens and noticed some things about the other girls and their putting. When I got back home at midnight on Friday, I fell right to sleep knowing I had a golf lesson the next morning at 11. My lesson went very well because I shared my thoughts and experiences with my golf coach. We changed a few things about my putting and he taught me a few new shots around the green. Because he taught me a few different shots, my dad and I have been working really hard to be able to get those shots down for my next tournament, which is in Huntsville, Alabama. It is an AJGA Open that I would love to win. I am going to work really hard on my week off and then I have four straight weeks of tournaments.
OK, you know the routine, let’s forget golf for a minute and talk about who I met and all the social activities! I got to hang out with Emily Tubert, one of my good friends who just won the Women’s Amateur Public Links, and I learned that her dad is an actor and has acted on several of the shows I love! His name is Marcelo and he has appeared in “Cory in the House” (a Disney Channel show), “Seinfeld,” and Miss Congeniality 2 and he has done voice work for many shows. I also found a ping-pong table at the golf course and I got to play every day. I won a few, but I lost a few too. I am going to have to practice my skills for my re-matches.
I met some very important people as well. For the second year in a row, I played with Mr. Tyson, who owns Tyson foods and the golf course we played. I met the USGA president at the Rolex banquet one night and I met so many new friends. We also got to have dinner one night at the Arkansas football stadium. We got to go down on the field and try to use some of our football skills. It was awesome. That is what it is all about, making memories. I hope everyone has a wonderful week and I will talk to y’all next week!