Tour Alumna Jean Reynolds Weighs In On 2010 LPGA Rookie Season
JEAN REYNOLDS finished second on the Duramed FUTURES Tour's 2009 Money List to earn full membership on the 2010 LPGA Tour. As a second-year professional last year, Reynolds posted 10 top-10 finishes in 17 events.
The soft-spoken Southerner from Newnan, Ga., wowed media with her unique story of passing up college golf at the University of Georgia to "be a normal college kid and go to Georgia football games." She also won fans last year at the U.S. Women's Open Championship, where she contended for 54 holes and finished tied for 17th at the Open as a Duramed FUTURES Tour member.
Now a 2010 LPGA Tour rookie, Reynolds is learning the ropes on the bigger stage. Currently, her best 2010 LPGA finish is a tie for 56th at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger. Here's what she had to say to Duramed FUTURES Tour senior writer Lisa D. Mickey in a recent interview about her rookie LPGA year:
DFT: What kind of start have you had this year on the LPGA Tour?
REYNOLDS: I think having as long of an off-season as I had kind of hurt me. I went into our first LPGA tournament in San Diego in mid-March 2010 and my last competition had been in September 2009 at the Duramed FUTURES Tour's final tournament in Albany, N.Y. So, it's been a slow start to the year.
DFT: What are you doing to get it going?
REYNOLDS: My teacher, Charlie King, says I have to play 2010 like I'm starting fresh this week. I need to return to the basics, stop worrying about how many tournaments there are, and just get back to playing.
DFT: Why did you sign up to play in the Duramed FUTURES Tour tournament last week in Bloomfield, Connecticut? Full LPGA members can play in up to three FUTURES Tournaments, but why did you sign up?
REYNOLDS: I started getting my rhythm back at our tournament in Toledo Oio, but then there was a break in our schedule, so that's why I'm here. I wanted to play and this was an option. That's what people have to realize. You have to play where you can and the competition is really good. I also want to see improvement with my putting. And I want to be able to step on the first day and say, "I'm real lucky to be competing and playing golf right now." I just want to enjoy it.
DFT: Other than the big gap between your competitive events, leaving you a bit rusty when the LPGA kicked off its domestic tournament schedule, why else do you think your season is slow starting?
REYNOLDS: In the beginning of the year, I looked at the schedule and put some pressure on myself to start out strong. My grandfather passed away unexpectedly during the U.S. Women's Open Qualifying Tournament and I found out mid-round. I left and went home. I came back out and played the LPGA State Farm Classic, but I just wasn't completely there mentally. I've also struggled with my putting. I know it will come around, so I'm not worried about it.
DFT: How frustrated have you been?
REYNOLDS: I've kept my cool. I'm not out there throwing clubs and pitching tantrums. Yes, it's frustrating, but you just have to ask, 'Why is this happening?' and fix it. I can't be afraid that I might have to come back to Q-School to keep my LPGA card. I just have to go play golf.
DFT: Did you think your transition to the LPGA would be a lot easier than this?
REYNOLDS: I knew it wasn't going to be easy. It's a transition. You have to take it as a progression and see it as a learning curve. I love it. I'm enjoying the LPGA. I just want to play better. I've been a little distracted.
DFT: You weren't able to go through the qualifying this year for the U.S. Women's Open, but you were able to qualify for the RICOH Women's British Open. How exciting is that?
REYNOLDS: I was certainly disappointed that I didn't qualify for the U.S. Women's Open, but I knew I had two rounds during the tournament in Toledo [the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger] to bust my butt and qualify for the Women's British. The five low-scoring players after two rounds at that event, who weren't already in the British Open field, qualified. I've never been to England, so I'm pretty pumped.
DFT: What has been your biggest disappointment in 2010?
REYNOLDS: Really, not playing in the U.S. Women's Open. I couldn't even watch it on TV this year. That week at the 2009 Open, everything felt automatic. I had the same mindset starting out this year, but I put more pressure on myself. If I could take a mulligan, I would have played some tournaments going into our San Diego event. I wanted to play in the Australian events, but I didn't get in. I had been practicing and playing, but you have to stay in competition. I want to keep my LPGA card, but if I dwell on that, it's just going to ruin my game and cause me to grind over putts. I'm not going to go there. I know I have the talent and the game.
DFT: How does your teacher [Charlie King] help you?
REYNOLDS: He puts things in perspective. He's my head doctor. He knows what to say and how to say it. He's also given me a lot of reassurance and told me to remember everything good and to stop worrying about how many tournaments I have left. He tries to help me get rid of the negative thoughts. I'm getting closer to learning how to shut it down to just play golf and to stop focusing on the outcome.
DFT: You're about halfway through the tournament season now. How different has the LPGA been for you when compared to the developmental tour?
REYNOLDS: To me, it's not really that much different. There are bigger tents on the LPGA. More stuff, more four-round events. Basically, everybody just wants to win. You have to get used to how strong the competition is. You've got to go low, especially on the weekends.
DFT: You and your caddie Paul Maggiore were a good team at last year's Women's Open. How is it working out with him this season as your full-time caddie?
REYNOLDS: It's pretty much the same. I need someone to keep me relaxed. He's been there through a lot. My grandfather's death was hard for me and unexpected. Paulie has been a loyal friend. With him and my own family, it's like I have three brothers.
DFT: Do you enjoy playing the LPGA's global tournament schedule?
REYNOLDS: The LPGA is global, but the schedule is also limited. You have to be high up the money list to do all the traveling. This year, I'll go to Mexico, Canada and England. I'd love to go to Asia to play in the fall, but you have to be in the top 60 or top 80 on the LPGA's money list, or get exemptions to go.
DFT: MINA HARIGAE, who was top ranked on the Duramed FUTURES Tour last year, also has had a slow LPGA start this year. How much do you two chat?
REYNOLDS: Mina and I are having a similar year. A lot was expected of us, but the way we are playing is not us. Missing cuts is not what we want to be doing. I think right now, we both just need to stop thinking about tournament cuts, the outcome or the big picture. I've played with a lot of good players this year and from tee to green, I'm there. Yes, I wanted to start out well this year, but after I missed that first cut, it was like a switch went off in my head. I felt like I was playing catch-up.
DFT: What will it take for you to call your rookie season a success?
REYNOLDS: If, at the end of the year, I'm as happy as I was when I first started the season, that will be special. It's just hard to have fun out there when you're grinding and missing cuts. I tell myself to just keep plugging along. If it were easy, everybody would be good at this.
Topics: Player Feature