Kingsmill Resort may be a slice of heaven for visitors, but it’s a slice of home for Lauren Coughlin.
A native of Charlottesville, Va. and University of Virginia graduate, Coughlin’s first memories at this week’s host venue for the Pure Silk Championship take her back to 2010 on the AJGA.
“It’s funny because I played with my former assistant coach [at UVA] Brian Bailie on Sunday. We were talking about the story when I played an AJGA event my junior year of high school [in 2010]. I had not yet been recruited by Virginia,” said Coughlin, the 2016 ACC Championship individual title winner. “He came out and watched me on the front nine one of the days, and I shot like 40. I was like, ‘Oh, no. Of course he sees me do that.’ He leaves, and I shoot 30 on the back nine.
“He was telling me, ‘Little did you know that before I even left the parking lot, I was calling coach [Kim Lewellen] and telling her about you.’”
As a LPGA Tour rookie in 2018, Coughlin secured her top finish in the Pure Silk Championship of tied for 50th. Three months later, she won the PHC Classic on the Epson Tour. But the time between events was filled with the greatest adversity of her professional career.
“I played in that [Epson Tour] event to warm up for the last little stretch that I was going to have on the LPGA,” said Coughlin, who missed five cuts on the LPGA between her stop at Kingsmill Resort and first professional title in Glendale, Wis. “I was in a really, really bad place mentally. I remember being in the parking lot two hours before my tee time bawling to my husband, not wanting to be there and just really, really miserable with golf.
“He told me to calm down and if I want to be done in four weeks, that I could be done. Just get through it, calm down and enjoy it. I went out and shot 5-under that day. Then shot 5-under again and 6-under and next thing I know, I won. It started from wanting to quit golf three days before that.
“It was one of those moments like, ‘Hey, I can do this,’ even though it still took me a little bit longer to get where I wanted. Every day, every week is getting better in terms of my confidence and believing in myself.”
Coughlin will make her third career LPGA Tour start this week on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort. With her husband and several family members expected to be in attendance, Coughlin has a few goals in mind.
“Win,” she said with a smile. “To win at Kingsmill would be awesome. I really want to be playing in Asia and CME [Group Tour Championship] at the end of the year. That is the goal and to get into those events I would be doing pretty good.”