LPGA Qualifying school is often called “marathon week.” By the time my alarm went off Friday morning at 6:15, I knew where the nickname came from. I was physically and emotionally tired, and wasn’t even half way done. The week started with practice rounds Sunday through Tuesday, 18 holes Wednesday thru Sunday, and finally a six hour rookie orientation Monday. I can now definitely say I am looking forward to coming home for the holidays and the rest and relaxation that will come with it.
My motto going into the week was “No Fear.” I felt that if I played scared, afraid of making any mistakes, it probably wouldn’t turn out in my favor. Although this is a great motto to have during any event, it especially rings true when it’s five rounds with nothing to lose. I already had Symetra Tour status for next year, all I could do was move up to the LPGA. Unfortunately, playing with “No Fear” is easier said than done. After an opening round 75, all I felt was fear. Fear of missing the cut, fear of no LPGA status, and the fear of spending roughly $6,000 dollars on this one week to walk away empty handed. The week was long enough, and I knew it was going to be really long if I kept finding hazards with my 7 iron.
Over the next four days I shot 7-under, never shooting another round over par. By the time I came to my 90th hole on Sunday afternoon, I felt that if I birdied the short par 5 I would have a good chance of getting into a playoff. I had come a long way since Wednesday. Unfortunately, I made par on my last hole and would end up missing the play off by two shots.
So what does this mean for me now? This means I am a member of the LPGA under category 17. Also known as conditional or provisional status. When the new year starts, everyone is given a number; essentially like a ranking. We all went to Qualifying Tournament to try and gain as high of number as we possibly could. Jaye Marie Green, the girl that just trampled the field, will start the year at 118. I will start at 167. This means that in a full field event of 144 players, I need 23 of the 166 girls ahead of me to not play that week. It seems like a lot, but with 33 events this year I feel confident that there will be plenty of opportunity for me to tee it up on the LPGA. There are also two reshuffles during the year where our number can improve, or get worse, depending on how we have played. Those reshuffles can be huge in defining how the season can progress for me.
While I think I will play in as many LPGA events as I can, I will also continue to play the Symetra Tour nearly full time as well. The difficulty for me this year will be deciding when to head to an LPGA event and when to go to a Symetra event. We generally find out if we are in an LPGA field only a few days before. With my OCD of wanting to plan out everything six years in advance, this should be quite the experience. However, it’s definitely a good problem to have.
I know I received a lot of questions regarding what this status means, how it works, and how many events I will be able to play. I hope this helps clear it up a bit. The bottom line is that I don’t really know either. I will try and plan out my schedule the best I can, but must always be ready to make a last minute change if I can get into an LPGA event, or if I must head back to the Symetra tour for the week. The LPGA schedule is currently up on their website and they Symetra schedule will be out sometime in January if you want to check them out.
Overall, there was a lot to digest this week and after yesterday’s six hour orientation I am on information overload. The two things I learned yesterday: commit to every event no matter what, and I’ll probably get fined for something. Let’s hope its a small one. I do need to thank my caddie for the week, Brodie, who came all the way from Portland to spend the week with me. He has always been my favorite caddie and we worked so well together out there this week. I would also like to thank my small fan club this week, Tami Nelson and her nephews, Colin and Brock. They took time out of their vacation to come watch me on Wednesday and Sunday and even took me out to dinner. They are an awesome group and I couldn’t have been happier to spend some time with them.
I’m headed home in a couple days and will spend a couple of weeks in Clark. I look forward to seeing all my friends and family, but also to get rid of this darn sun burn. Does the sun every stop shining in Florida?
Merry Christmas everyone!