Tubert on the verge of great golf in Charleston

Emily Tubert pumps her fist to celebrate landing her drive in the fairway at Country Club of Charleston's ninth hole.

Emily Tubert pumps her fist to celebrate landing her drive in the fairway at Country Club of Charleston's ninth hole.

First-round scores

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Emily Tubert is on the back end of a changing of the guard in women’s amateur golf. She’s the only member of the eight-woman 2012 Curtis Cup squad who remains an amateur, and thus the only one playing in the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Country Club of Charleston.

“It’s definitely something that I’m aware of,” Tubert says, ticking off on her fingers her three teammates (Lisa McCloskey, Austin Ernst and Brooke Pancake) who earned LPGA cards at Q-School last fall. “... I know so many people out here but everybody is so young.”

The average age for the 156-woman field is 19.5, and Tubert, at 21, is hardly an old lady even if it does seem as if she's been around forever. She started her round at No. 10 Monday morning birdie-bogey-birdie, shot 33 on the back nine and held the lead for much of the morning.

She chunked a chip at No. 8 and bogeyed to get back to even-par 71 and an early tie for fourth, but even that shot says much about the state of her game. Tubert spent much of her practice time for this championship around the short-game area with Arkansas assistant coach Mike Adams, and was simply too confident with her wedge.

“I was hitting it great today but I got so into making that chip, I felt so good over it, that I forgot about the stuff in the technique that I was focusing on that had allowed me to hit successful chips all day,” Tubert said. “I just duffed it.”

When that happened, Tubert’s dad Marcelo, her usual caddie in amateur events, put his head in his hands as Emily tossed the club. The Tuberts put on an entertaining show on the golf course, and at the ninth hole, Emily danced off the tee box after putting her drive in the fairway.

A 6,488-yard setup bodes well for Tubert. She also got up and down at six of the nine holes where she missed the green.

By Tuesday, Emily might have a new caddie on the bag. LPGA player Ryann O’Toole’s man Lorcan Morris has the week off after carrying O’Toole’s bag around St. Andrews for the Ricoh Women’s British Open, and has agreed to pick up Tubert’s bag. Morris caddied for Tubert’s good friend Desiree Dubreuil, a former Texas player, at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur in Charlotte, N.C., and the Tuberts made friends with him, too. In fact, along with Desiree’s father Clark, Marcelo recently was a groomsman in Morris’ wedding.

“He’s just somebody we’ve kept in touch with,” she said. “... He’s never caddied for me before but we’re good friends.”

Tubert’s could be a good bag to have. She says she’s on the verge of great golf after a down year at Arkansas. She entered the fall No. 5 in Golfweek’s preseason individual rankings and ended No. 29 in the Golfweek rankings. She won twice, but her scoring average, 73.41, was nearly a stroke higher than during her sophomore year.

She hopes a game on the “up and up,” will result in a second career USGA title this week in Charleston. Her U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links title from 2010 went a long way toward her Curtis Cup nod in 2012, and next year, Tubert would have the distinction of being the only returner.

She hardly needs those extra lines on her resume, and while the next Curtis Cup is nearly a year away, Tubert lists another team berth as the thing she still wants to accomplish before launching a professional career.

“We were real close overseas and I feel like I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “And that experience is invaluable."

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