Four Year veteran on Tour seeks the spotlight
It seems Vicky Hurst’s golf career can be defined by many numbers.
For instance, eight – the age she knew she was going to become a professional golfer.
On June 9, 1990, Hurst was born into a world that was adorned in all things golf. In fact, at nine months pregnant, Hurst’s mother Koko was about to complete a winning round near the Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. when her water broke. She was a single-handicapper and Club Champion while Hurst’s father Joe, an Air Force colonel, was definitely good enough to keep up with her.
Essentially, Hurst was destined to play golf professionally.
Inheriting her parent’s love for the sport, Hurst was handed a club at age 8 and suddenly was a natural. In that same year, Hurst watched the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open as Se Ri Pak made LPGA Tour history when she became the first South Korean to win a women’s major. As a Korean-American herself, Pak’s win along with her mother’s nationality opened her eyes to professional golf.
“Se Ri Pak was one of my idols growing up and she won at Blackwolf Run and I think I remember watching her play,” Hurst said. “I mean she's one of the main reasons why I started in golf, and my parents got me into it because of her.”
Her inaugural victory at a golf tournament came just three years later and ever since then her passion for golf has intensified.
Seventeen marks the age Hurst became a professional golfer.
In her hometown of Melbourne, Fla., Hurst was known for upsetting the boys on the links. As a member of the boy’s golf team at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, she proved to be an essential teammate and not just as an intimidation factor. She was the No. 1 golfer on the team for three seasons.
“I was the only girl. It was like, there was a lot of testosterone,” Hurst jokes of playing on the boy’s golf team. “Away matches were especially tough for me. But it wasn’t too bad. My team, we were pretty good. They all had egos and were pretty cocky but when I beat them every time it was more fun than I expected it to be. Because guys can be guys, you know?”
Throughout her high school career, Hurst became a very decorated golfer. Between 2005 and 2008 Hurst won the Florida Women's State Golf Association Junior Girls' Championship, named the FWSGA Junior Player of the Year and finished second at the Florida high school girl’s golf championship. She also qualified for the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open just weeks after turning 15 and again the following year. After the 2006-2007 campaign she was name Florida’s Junior Player of the Year and won three American Junior Golf Association events. She ended the 2007 season as a top-ranked amateur in the Polo Golf Rankings and was named the AJGA Player of the Year.
It’s no surprise that Hurst was heavily recruited by college golf teams across the country. But after participating in, and winning, the Symetra Tour Qualify Tournament in November of her senior year, Hurst made the decision to skip college and turn professional.
“It was a tough decision to say no to them but I knew where my heart was at,” Hurst says. “Turning pro was kind of what I saw myself doing. So I just went with my heart.”
In March 2008, Hurst competed full-time on the Symetra Tour while also managing to complete her senior year of high school.
“My teachers were great and I got all my school work done in time to graduate,” Hurst said of balancing her career and school. “I didn’t miss out on anything my senior year though. I went to graduation and prom and did all that. Only towards the end of my senior year did I miss some school but I don’t feel like I missed out on anything.”
Five stands for the number of titles Hurst captured while on the Symetra Tour in 2008. While still on the school grind, she won four of her first eight starts on the developmental tour. That year she earned sponsor exemptions to three LPGA Tour events, missing the cut in two of them but tied for 21st in the other. After her fifth win she set the Tour record for single season earnings with $93,107 and earned her LPGA Tour card for the 2009 season.
And finally, eighty. That’s the number of starts she has made in four seasons on the LPGA Tour and not one has resulted in a victory. Hurst clinched her eighth top-10 finish after taking fourth at the 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship. Bouncing in and out of the leaderboard at several events this season, she has confidence that she is just inches away from her first career victory.
“I definitely want to get my first win in, but in order for me to do that I need to be more consistent and get myself in the top-10 more,” Hurst says of her goals for this season. “So I’m pretty much just working on consistency and improving little parts of my game. Everything is pretty good. My game feels good, my swing is great, putting is there and I’m looking forward to these next few tournaments and the rest of the season.”As talented as she has proven to be on the course, it won’t be long until Hurst is seen in the winner’s circle.