Hi everyone - here goes my first rookie blog!
I guess I'll start off by telling a little about myself. So here goes my life in a nutshell. My name is Mina Harigae and I was born in Monterey, California. My parents are Yasunori and Mafumi Harigae and they own a Japanese restaurant in Pacific Grove. My dad is the sushi chef and my mom is also a chef, but I have no skills in cooking whatsoever. I just eat all the good food they make. I started playing golf when I was eight years old. I used to be a swimmer, having started when I was three years old, but I decided that it was boring just swimming back and forth. So after I quit swimming, I needed something to do to preoccupy myself after school, so one day my dad took me out to the golf course and I just sat in the cart while he played. I don't remember exactly what I liked about golf, but I guess it looked fun chasing little white golf balls around. As soon as I decided that I wanted to try golf, my mom took me to a junior golf clinic right away so that I could learn the basics right off the bat. I thought that hitting the ball as hard as I could was the coolest thing ever. When I was 10 years old, I really started to get into golf. I practiced almost every day and started playing in local junior tournaments. I remember my friends and I used to think that breaking 50 for nine holes made us the best golfers ever. I'm going to fast forward a few years because I honestly don't remember a lot from when I was starting out.
When I was 12 years old, I played in the California Women's Amateur Championship because I just wanted to see how I would do and it was convenient because it was played at a course only 15 minutes from my house. I ended up winning the tournament and beat my fellow twelve-year-old friend, Sydney Burlison, in the finals. It was at that moment when I knew that I wanted to play on the LPGA Tour in the future. From there on, I played in AJGA and USGA events throughout my junior and amateur career. I love playing in tournaments because it gives me a thrill that I can't find anywhere else and I love the competition. I won the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links in 2007 and played in two U.S. Opens as an amateur. In 2008, I was a member of the victorious U.S. Curtis Cup team. Playing in the Curtis Cup was definitely my most memorable event because we played at St. Andrews. The team was a lot of fun and we had a great time playing in our matches on such an amazing golf course. We also did a little sightseeing which was awesome because they had beautiful historical buildings. I felt like I was in a Harry Potter movie the whole time. I had to miss my high school graduation to play in the Curtis Cup but it was worth it.
After my junior career, I played for Duke University for one semester in the fall of 2008. It was a great school and the team was great, but college and college golf was definitely not for me and it was unfortunate that I did not realize that until I got to school. In February, 2009, I moved to Arizona by myself to work with my instructor, Jeff Fisher. In a few short months, I practiced harder than I ever had in my life to make sure my game was ready for Q-School at the end of the year. I didn't have status on any tour, but my ranking from college was high enough to get some exemptions on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. My initial goal was to play in a few Duramed FUTURES Tour events to keep playing competitively and to get ready for Q-School, but all of that changed. I ended up playing well and won a tournament in June to get full status on the Duramed FUTURES Tour before I used up my exemptions. From there on, I changed my goal to try to be in the top five in earnings to get my LPGA card. At the end of the year, I won three tournaments and got Rookie and Player of the Year and got my LPGA card! I definitely exceeded my expectations for the year.
Now in my 2010 rookie season, I had a little bit of a rough start at the KIA CLASSIC Presented by J Golf, but during these few weeks off, I changed a few things around with my putting and full swing to help me become more consistent. I am definitely looking forward to my next tournament in Morelia, Mexico, for a fresh new start!
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