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Swinging Firm in Faith

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

April 23 2013, Katie Ann Robinson

Gerina Piller finds peace on and off the course

There are quite a few unique traits most people wouldn’t immediately know about Gerina Piller.

For instance, she competed in pageants as a child and her talent consisted of dribbling and shooting a basketball to an 80s pop song at age 5.

She is a diehard Texas Rangers fan, which was fueled by her passion for playing baseball as an adolescent.

She considers her wedding ring her most valuable possession after marrying Martin Piller, a Web.com Tour player, two years ago.

But the most intriguing characteristic about Piller is the way she talks about her unwavering faith – something she believes to be the foundation and center of her marriage and the reason she made it from Golf Channel’s Big Break: Prince Edward Island to becoming an LPGA Tour professional.     

“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without my Savior, Jesus Christ,” said Piller. “He has blessed me with the ability to do what I do, and also at the same time He brings me joy on the golf course whether I shoot 65 or 78. Regardless of what happens, I still know that my sins are forgiven and I’m going to Heaven, so that’s a great thing.”

The Roswell, New Mexico native will be the first to say that her life didn’t unfold quite the way she ever thought it would.

At 13 years old, Piller’s dream was to play baseball but after eight years of being on the boys’ little league team her mother pressed her to quit and try something else. She tried every sport in book, even cheerleading she jokes, but none seemed to fit.  Until one day her stepfather brought out a 7-club golf set from Walmart her grandparents had bought and taught her how to swing just in time for high school.

Piller joined the Goddard High School golf team her freshman year and immediately had an impact on the team, capturing four-straight state championship titles and the individual state titleher senior year. But despite her success, she flew under the radar when it came to college recruiting. So she took matters into her own hands.

“I never was recruited during high school,” said Piller. “So, what I did to get recognized was I put together a packet consisting of a homemade video of my swing, chipping, and putting, then I included a letter expressing my interest in the college and a little about myself. I sent them off to schools near my hometown.”

Hopeful to earn a scholarship to a school that would allot her optimal playing time she took a visit to the University of Texas El Paso and instantly agreed to join the Lady Miners golf team. It was at that moment Piller felt she had the opportunity to take her God-given talent and pursue a professional golf career.

“It wasn't until college I started to think I could make a career in golf,” said Piller. “ I dropped my scoring average from 81 my freshman year to 72 my senior year. I won four tournaments including conference. I graduated in winter 2007 and tried Q school that fall and came away with Symetra Tour status.”

Piller’s shining moments on the Symetra Tour came during her third season in 2010 when she notched seven top-10 finishes and was a contestant on Golf Channel’s Big Break: Prince Edward Island , which all guided her to earning full status on the LPGA Tour the following season.

Piller now finds herself in the midst of her third season on the LPGA Tour, having notched five top-10 finishes including a career-best tie for sixth at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

“I feel like now, this is my third year, I’m feeling more comfortable out here and feeling like I belong,” said Piller. “Your first few years you’re trying to figure things out and how thing operate. The experience has been huge and now I’m just going out and playing my game, having fun and carrying that confidence from tournament to tournament.”

It’s through Piller’s unwavering faith, constant prayer and ceaseless patience that she’s been able to reach the point where she is today and hopes to proclaim that message as she strives to make a difference on the LPGA Tour. 

 “I’m very thankful and blessed to be able to do what I do, and at the same time there still comes obstacles and temptations, it’s so easy to make golf your god,” said Piller. “I don’t find pleasure through golf. I have this platform to share my faith and tell people about their Savior and help them know that there is more to life than golf. This is what I’ve been given and I try to glorify Him in all that I do.”

 

Topics: Player Feature, Piller, Gerina

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