Jenny Suh was one of 28 rookies this season on the LPGA Tour. And in her first year on the LPGA, Suh’s year was one with distinct highs and lows.
The highlight was defeating Juli Inkster in head-to-head match play at the Sybase Match Play Championship, where Suh finished tied for 17th.
The low came when the former University of Alabama All-American missed the cut in six of her last seven events.
A tournament winner on the LPGA Futures Tour who has experienced the grind of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, Suh believes her experience heading into this week’s Q-school will be beneficial. Even the ups and downs of 2011 can provide perspective about the five rounds ahead of her this week.
“It takes some experience to get used to Q-school,” said Suh, 26, who finished 120th on the LPGA’s 2011 money list. “I know these golf courses. I know what this week is going to be like. I know it’s a long, grueling week and I’m going to save my energy and save my emotions for when it counts.”
Suh also supplemented her 2011 LPGA schedule with seven tournaments on the LPGA Futures Tour. She finished second at the Futures Tour’s 2011 Alliance Bank Golf Classic in Syracuse, N.Y. -- a tournament she won in 2009.
Admittedly, the Virginia native wanted to avoid returning to Q-school, but since she is here, she allows that the blow of having to return is softened by the fact that she currently has LPGA status for 2012.
“It’s a reassuring feeling to still have some LPGA status for next year, but I’m here to improve that,” said Suh. “Everyone performs better when they know they have a little cushion. I’ve never had that coming into Q-school before this year.”
Suh guesses she has played both the Legends and Champions courses at LPGA International “more than 25 times,” so she feels prepared for the 90-hole marathon of Q-school. But she shakes her head as she has watched some of the younger pros in this week’s tournament field make the rookie error of trying to cram in too many practice rounds to prep for the tournament.
“Some of the players who are in their first year have played five or six practice rounds and just as the tournament is starting, they’re going to be tired,” said Suh, a member of the 2006 U.S. Curtis Cup team and the winner of the 2006 Women’s North and South Amateur Championship. “This tournament is all about pacing yourself.”
But what about the stress of Q-school and trying to earn, save or improve 2012 LPGA Tour membership?
“I wish that saying I’ve played well on this course is going to help me here this week,” said Suh. “I’m treating it like any other week, only it’s five rounds. And five rounds is a lot of golf.”
By Lisa D. Mickey