MILWAUKEE — Stroke by stroke. Hole by hole.
Round by round. Year by year.
That’s the way Robynn Ree looks at golf and the way she looks at life as she grinds out a life in the sport.
She relishes the good times – the weekends like the one that ended Sunday – but she doesn’t dare to dream far beyond the next tee shot.
“You can have dreams and have what you want, but with this kind of lifestyle it’s not always going to happen as you planned it to,” Ree said after winning the PHC Classic at Brown Deer Park Golf Course for her second consecutive title on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s minor league.
Ree, who put her senior year at the USC on hold to turn pro, carded a second consecutive 6-under 66 to finish at 17-under for the tournament.
Vicky Hurst, an eight-time winner, fired a 65, the day’s best round, to finish three back. Maia Schechter posted 67 to pull within five strokes of Ree. Gigi Stoll made an early run Sunday, with six birdies on her first eight holes, before finishing with a 66 to reach finish fourth at 11-under.
“Every round had its up and downs. I was trying to stay consistent, and I think I did,” said Ree, who went 67-66-66 in the three-day event.
“My putting has been helping a lot. I’ve been struggling with my putter the whole entire year. I’ve been hitting great shots but didn’t make the putts; just the last couple of weeks it’s been coming together.”
The lowlight of Ree’s weekend was being stung by an insect on her right cheek while on her way to tee off on No. 16. Overall, not so bad.
The victory worth $18,750 took her to a little more than $72,000 for the season, and as the Symetra Tour’s fifth-leading money winner she is on target to earn her LPGA Tour card.
Almost turned pro by accident
The soft-spoken Ree, a 22-year-old from Redondo Beach, Calif., says she turned pro almost by accident. She was having trouble in school, gave qualifying a try and got hot in time. She finished her junior year while playing on the LPGA Tour – making 10 cuts in 21 starts – and then missed earning her card for this season by two spots.
“Honestly everybody says there’s a time for everything, and I guess it wasn’t my time yet,” Ree said. “Just trying to look at the positives.”
For players such as Ree, those aren’t always evident.
The Symetra Tour makes for a tough life, even if the overall competition is a step down from the LPGA. Milwaukee is a big event; the next stops are in Battle Creek, Mich., and Sioux Falls, S.D.
“My dad doesn’t like me driving,” said Ree, whose mother, Helen, is her caddie. “So we’re trying to find the nearest airport, and it’s, like, two or three hours away. After you fly, like, three hours, you have to drive two hours. It’s a little bit harder on my body, but it’s all in the experience, all in the learning process.
“Just trying to take every day by day.”
On this day she was a winner. But who knows what the next stop will bring. Or the next.
“Obviously by the end of this year I want to get my card back and if possible within the next two or three years I want to finish my degree,” said Ree, who is pursuing real estate development. “That’s obviously hard. I have to just time it (golf) right with school.”