Paula Reto is ready to say goodbye to 2017.
More like good riddance.
After making just six of 23 cuts and a year of hitting the ball “the worst I’ve ever hit it,” Reto is back at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. It’s the first time the South African has returned to LPGA International since she earned her card in 2013. She’s back, hoping to improve her status on Tour for 2018, which will currently only get her into a handful of events.
When asked about how it feels to return, her reaction says it all. She’s trying to keep a smile and chokes back a nervous laugh as her knees slightly buckle. Then, she sighs.
“Yes, unfortunately, I know. It is what it is, right?” Reto told LPGA.com after a second round, 72 on the Hills Course. She’s three-under through two rounds and tied for fourth.
“It’s maybe a learning experience, it’s something I need to do. I told myself it’s another tournament, kind of take it that way.”
It’s the best self-talk Reto can muster about a difficult year she hasn’t spoke much about.
Following the Manulife LPGA Classic in June, Reto began feeling ill. Covered in rashes that won’t go away and feeling chronically fatigued, Reto has undergone six blood tests to try and diagnose her condition. She also had a biopsy on the rashes. Reto says doctors have suggested she may have Lupus, but really don’t know what the 27-year-old is suffering from.
She sleeps 10 hours a day, is trying to eat more food and has started taking vitamins. It’s all she can do until she receives a diagnosis and can begin some sort of treatment. Reto says next week she’ll return to her rheumatologist near her home in Ft. Lauderdale to receive her most recent test results.
Her mother, Belinda, has become desperate for answers, too. In an effort to help turn around her daughter’s game, she secretly swapped out her daughter’s Springbot head cover for a zebra. So far, the new mascot has done the trick this week in bringing some good vibes to her daughter.
Sunday, every player in the field will leave with an answer about their future, but Reto will leave still looking for hers.
“God has a plan for me,” Reto said, still smiling.