Maria Fassi played in her first USGA event at the Country Club of Charleston in 2013, when she played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
In the match play portion, she took on two eventual LPGA pros who were two of the best amateurs at the time.
She beat Ally McDonald in match play, before losing to eventual champion of the tournament Emma Talley.
Those duels taught Fassi her first lesson from the Country Club of Charleston.
“I learned from that week that I had what it took to be able to compete against them. From there it was all uphill, I started working harder and believing in myself a lot more,” Fassi told LPGA.com.
This week, another opportunity was presented to the 2019 NCAA Individual Women’s Golf Champion at the Country Club of Charleston.
As she came into the week, she had taken in plenty of wisdom from teammates. As she told LPGA.com before tournament play, fellow Arkansas alum Stacy Lewis gave her some veteran advice when seeing her on the range after her practice round.
“It was 100-degree heat, and she told me, ‘You don’t need to be out here killing yourself.’”
Learning to change her practice routine is part of the adjustment for Fassi as an LPGA rookie. Instead of having weeks off between events like she would at times in college, the LPGA is now entering a 10 week stretch of tournaments.
Learning from the routine adjustment, Fassi came into play Thursday with different nerves than usual. Reasonable for one’s first professional debut, she managed them and made the cut on the dot.
With her family chanting, "MARI! MARI!" after finding out she made the cut Saturday morning, the butterflies in her stomach flew away.
The Razorback graduate put on a show on the weekend. She carded a (-3) 68 to fight back to even par, then added a final round of 70 to sit (-1) for the tournament. The strong play was good for T12 in her professional debut at the U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA.
“It was just so much fun to be able to compete against the best, and to do it at the U.S. Women’s Open was super special.”
While it was an enjoyable experience, the Country Club of Charleston provided another powerful lesson for the LPGA rookie.
She can compete with the best at the professional level too.