Second-year pro Jane Rah earned LPGA Tour membership for the first time by finishing No. 5 on the 2011 LPGA Futures Tour’s season money list.
Rah, 20, of Torrance, Calif., was the fourth Californian to finish in the top five in 2011 Futures Tour earnings. On her way to gaining full 2012 LPGA status, she recorded eight top-10 finishes in 15 starts, including three runner-up finishes during the LPGA Futures Tour’s 2011 season.
A former collegian at Oklahoma State University, Rah earned $46,669 this season and recorded a scoring average of 71.72. She finished the year ranked ninth in sub-par rounds (37 percent), ninth in putting average (29.643 strokes per round), and tied for 12th in birdies (122 in 43 rounds).
The petite (5-foot-1, in shoes) but powerful player made her mark on the LPGA Futures Tour as a consistent player who was always in contention. While she is still seeking her first professional win, Rah has been a steady performer in her first two professional seasons.
Here’s what Rah, nicknamed “Rah Rah,” has to say about her 2011 season and her thoughts on heading to the LPGA in 2012:
LPGA: How do you feel about earning your LPGA card for 2012?
RAH: It feels amazing. It’s a dream come true!
LPGA: How did the LPGA Futures Tour help prepare you for the LPGA?
RAH: The Futures Tour has helped me get comfortable with being a professional and all the responsibilities that follow.
LPGA: What were the biggest challenges in earning your LPGA card on the Futures Tour?
RAH: My biggest challenge was hanging on to a spot in the top five for the last two tournaments! [Note: Top-five finishers on the LPGA Futures Tour’s money list earn full LPGA membership the following year.]
LPGA: You will have several months off before the 2012 season starts. How will you prepare for next season?
RAH: First, I’m taking a much-needed break, but then it’s back to work. I’ll spend my time between the gym and the golf course.
LPGA: What are you looking forward to the most on the 2012 LPGA Tour?
RAH: Getting a chance to finally play on the big stage all next year.
LPGA: You’ve had at least four runner-up finishes in the last two years on the Futures Tour. What will it take to break through for your first professional win?
RAH: I think staying patient is the key. I’m more of the consistent-style of golfer, so I just have to keep putting myself in contention.
LPGA: You started out as a figure skater. How serious were you about it?
RAH: I started skating at age 4 until I was about 7 ½. I’d go to the ice rink to practice every morning before school. My dream was to be an Olympic figure skater following in the footsteps of Michelle Kwan.
People told me that I was a natural at golf, so I quit figure skating because I knew that the career of a figure skater is really short. It’s more work and it’s harder on your body, so I’ve stuck with golf ever since.
LPGA: Your family moved to Southern California and you eventually went to Torrance High School, which has a powerhouse girls’ golf program that produced you, Angela Park and Jenny Shin. Why is that program so strong?
RAH: For whatever reason, despite the fact that there is not a golf course in Torrance [Calif.], many golfers just happen to live in that city. While I was there, I won the state high school individual title as a freshman. As a team, we won the state championship in three of the four years I was there and finished second in the year we didn’t win.
LPGA: You went to Oklahoma State University for one semester. Was college golf just not for you or did you get homesick out in Stillwater [Okla.]?
RAH: I got to school extremely excited for the next chapter of my life, but after a short while, I realized that college golf wasn’t for me. I decided to move on and turn professional.
LPGA: You have proven yourself as a golfer, but do you have any hidden talents?
RAH: I’m pretty good at playing cards, especially at “Egyptian War” and “Big 2.”
LPGA: With a few months of free time, what will you be catching up with on TV?
RAH: I’ll watch “Millionaire Matchmaker.”
LPGA: How about music? What’s at the top of the list on your iPod?
RAH: Right now, my top three songs are “Better With the Lights Off” by New Boyz, “Brighter Than the Sun” by Colbie Caillat, and “Smile” by Avril Lavigne.
LPGA: If you weren’t a golfer, what else would you want to do?
RAH: I’d be interested in having my own sports talk radio show.
LPGA: You’re actually pretty quiet. So how did you get your nickname “Rah Rah?”
RAH: People tend to come up with different variations of my name, so I get called “Little One,” “Little Rah,” “Rah Rah” and “Junior,” which are my initials, J.R. Despite nicknames usually formed to shorten names, a lot of people combine my first and last name and just call me “Janerah.”
LPGA senior writer Lisa D. Mickey
Topics: Rah, Jane