Everyone has a moment when the light switch goes on. For Emily Collins (Colleyville, Texas), it happened at the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open. She qualified in between her freshman and sophomore seasons at Oklahoma and earned the chance to play against the best in the world. She even got to play a practice round with Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie.
“That’s when I decided that I could do this (play on the LPGA) and I wanted to work towards it,” explained Collins, who has played on the Epson Tour each of the last two seasons. “Growing up, I thought it would be cool to play the LPGA, but I never thought it would actually happen.”
Hey Emily, it’s happening.
After two unsuccessful attempts to earn LPGA status through the Epson Tour and Qualifying Tournament, Collins finished T44 at 2016 Q-School to stamp her status on the big show for 2017.
“I truly didn’t play great at Q-School, but my short game and putting saved me,” explained Collins. “Mary Narzisi (a fellow Epson Tour professional) started caddying for me and she wants to caddy for me next year as well and it has been a super good match.
Mary and I were friends as players too so it has been fun.”
“She’s really good on the bag and makes me feel really comfortable,” continued Collins. “She was a big factor in helping me get my card."
She almost didn’t get a chance to earn a Tour card. Collins started Stage II with rounds of 77-74 and was on the outside of the cutline. She rebounded and made Final Stage on the number.
“I played pretty poorly the first couple days of second stage and I battled to make it on the number,” said Collins. “I played terrible that week and was really tired after such a long year (on the Epson Tour). I was really fortunate to squeeze through and get the opportunity at Final Stage because I knew I would be rested and ready to go.”
Collins admitted that had she failed to earn LPGA status in the next two years, she was going to begin to reevaluate her career.
The only thing she’s evaluating now is how to juggle her schedule. She expects to fly to the Bahamas to attempt to Monday qualify for the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic and then reassesses depending on the result. Collins is adamant that she wants to play in as many LPGA events as possible.
“It’s tough because this is the first time that I am going to have to juggle both Tours,” said Collins. “I’ll likely play the Epson Tour early in the year when the LPGA is in Asia and then hopefully I start to get into LPGA events like the one in Hawaii and Dallas, which is one I really want to play in because that is home.”
“I’m going to play in as many LPGA events as I can because I want to gain experience out there,” continued Collins. “I feel that is really big for me since all this is new.”
Like many rookies with conditional status, Collins is most worried about the unknown of her schedule.
“There could be a situation where mentally I’m ready to play in a Epson Tour event and then I get into an LPGA event last minute and I have to get on plane and go wherever they are,” said Collins, who is by no means complaining. “First of all, it is going to be more expensive and also more stressful. I’m willing to do it because I want the experience and the ultimate goal is be on the LPGA for the long haul.”
Collins said she is fortunate on the financial side because she recently resigned with Team Concept Printing, a printing company based in Illinois. Even with the financial support, she’ll still have to be careful with her money.
All the burdens and challenges aside, she’s simply thrilled to have the opportunity to compete against the best.