Player diary: Oklahoma State's Casie Cathrea
Hey! My name is Casie Cathrea. I am from Livermore, Calif., which is a mere 1,622 miles from the Oklahoma State campus. I am a freshman and play golf for the Cowgirls. I started playing golf when I was 5 years old, won my first tournament at 7 and beat my dad by the age of 9.
At 13, I became the second-youngest person to Monday qualify for an LPGA event (2009 CVS/Pharmacy LPGA Challenge) at Blackhawk Country Club, where I’m a merit member. I am the youngest to get a hole-in-one in an LPGA event (the event at Blackhawk). I am the three-time NCGA Player of the Year (2010, ’11, ’13), two-time Future Champions Tour Player of the Year (2010, ’11) and eight-time Sacramento Golf Council women’s champion. In 2013, I was ranked as high as second in the Golfweek Junior Rankings (I know, hard to believe) and was No. 10 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. I have represented the USA three times - Evian Masters (2011) Junior Ryder Cup (2012) and Junior Solheim Cup (2013). In 2013, I was the low amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open (T-25), got to the quarterfinals of both the U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Women’s Amateur and was the winner of the inaugural Women’s Porter Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club. I work out as many as 12 times a week and my favorite color is … ORANGE. So I’ve lived a little and hope to let you in on what it’s like to be freshman 1,600 miles from home.
Team Cathrea consists of my dad Harry, Chris Biddicks, PGA Poppy Ridge; Justin Poynter, PGA and Taylor Crosby, PGA (the latter two from Jim McLean Golf Center Texas). I also have a trainer, Patrick Fueller, and physical therapist, Kristi IIllg. See, it does take a village
HOW I FIRST LEARNED TO PLAY: I am a product of Sacramento’s First Tee program. Really I swear … You see on Oct. 10, 2004, when I was just 8, my dad wrote an email to the tournament director of SAY GOLF in Sacramento (about an hour drive from our house). SAY GOLF helped guide Sacramento’s First Tee program, which was founded in 1998 as the third in the country. In that email from 2004 my dad asked:
“My daughter would like to play more competitive events and meet more girls that play golf. She plays to an 8.6 index “but” is only 8 years old. Her GIN number is XXXXXXX Can she play in your tournaments and attend your functions even though she is a little young? I saw a picture from your last tournament of a boy who is either vertically challenged or is a little young, so there might be a chance of an age exception. We live in Manteca, Calif. Can you help?”
On Nov. 22, 2004, at Cameron Park just north of Sacramento, my golf life was changed forever as I played my first 18-hole event at Sacramento’s First Tee. And my score that day was … 101! From the age of 8 to the age of 15, I played in over sixty 18-hole First Tee competitions and fundraisers, even becoming Birdie Certified. My last First Tee competition was a Champions Tour Pro–Junior in 2011 called The Nature Valley First Tee Open. That was one of my proudest moments in life, winning with Hall of Famer and mentor Ben Crenshaw. We won with a three-day total of 193, 23-under par, while setting a single-day record of 60 on Day 2.
WHY STILLWATER? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN KARSTEN CREEK?: I visited Oklahoma State’s facilities for the first time during the Ping Invitational in 2011. I was amazed at the facilities, educators, golf course and the commitment I saw in each of the players who would become my teammates. If wanted to play professional golf, it seemed Stillwater and more specifically Karsten Creek would help me achieve my goals. What was funny in a sense was Oklahoma State Coach Alan Bratton was one of only two coaches to wish me well after I had originally committed to the University of Texas, the other was the nice coach (Michele Drinkard) at Ole Miss. That irony only became apparent when on Oct. 13, 2011 I verbally committed to play golf for Oklahoma State after first withdrawing my commitment from the University of Texas. The hardest thing I ever did was call the Texas coach (Martha Richards) to withdraw and the second happiest day of my short life (happiest day was getting to campus) was calling Coach Bratton to let him know I was coming to Stillwater to play. While it’s true Oklahoma State gets good, hard-working players to come and play, it’s also true good players can become great at Stillwater if they put in the time at the nation’s No. 1 ranked college home course.
Next up … moving into my dorm (1,200 square feet, two bedrooms, two bathrooms), my awesome teammates, buying groceries for the first time, qualifying for and playing in my first college event and turning in my first assignment in college.