CINCINNATI, OHIO | As she waited for the weather to clear on Tuesday before rolling a few more putts at Kenwood Country Club, Ohio native Jillian Hollis was asked if her family was coming down to Cincinnati to watch as she plays in the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G this week. “They’d better be,” the 25-year-old said. “I think I’ve got parents, cousins, friends, everybody coming out. They haven’t texted me yet about how many tickets they need. But it’s coming.”
Hollis is upbeat before making only her fifth start on the LPGA Tour this year. That’s because she is healthy, happy, and coming off a win at the Circling Raven Championship on the Epson Tour the last week of August.
“I've been hitting it pretty well all year, and I think my putting has just finally -- like everything has come together, and I made a lot of putts this week, hit a lot of really good shots around the green, as well, and that's where you score,” Hollis said. “I was able to shoot some really low scores. It was a lot of fun. I just had a great time that week and played well on top of it.”
The victory validated that all the hardship Hollis has gone through has been worth it.
“While it was happening and even after, it didn't feel a whole lot different because I think my game has been there all year,” she said. “And I think for it all to finally come together probably a couple days after I was like, wow, it was a really cool feeling to have, like put it all together and have it actually show to everybody else. But I've definitely proven to myself that I can compete again and do what I love and enjoy doing what I love again.”
She is also keeping her start in front of a home crowd into perspective.
“It's such a privilege to come here and play in my home state and to play in front of everybody like I grew up with,” she said. “Hopefully I have a lot of Ohio fans here this week. It's just really cool anytime I get to play here. I played in Toledo the last couple years, and it's just a very familiar feeling being here, and I have so many people around here that really love and care and support me.
“I think Ohio is such a great place to play in the summer. It's not great in the winter, but if we can get the LPGA Tour here for 5, 10, 20 more years, I think you'll see more and more tournaments around this area, and just getting to compete in the first one is such an honor. It's really cool.”
She’s also able to look at her career with some perspective now, from the pandemic year to the ups and downs, injuries and tears, and, finally, a win.
“I really enjoy golf again this year,” she said. “That's been my journey this year. I had two goals. One is to play healthy golf. I fought an injury last year, just trying to grind through this slump I was in, and sometimes you push harder, and it doesn't always work. I had to take a step back and look at a lot of things in my life.
“2020 was definitely difficult for me, but I have so many lessons I've learned in the last two years. I think that's the most important thing, like you can either let those things beat you down or you can turn it around and make it a lesson.
“I really enjoy playing golf again. I'm making the most of every week that I'm playing, whether it's on the Epson Tour with all of my friends out there, who are like the most supportive group of girls and such great talent out there, (or on the LPGA Tour).
“I haven't played here the last two years, and just seeing some of the girls out here and just how supportive they are, it's like a family. Of course we all want to beat each other every week, but it's been fun. It hasn't been lonely.
“Coming out here and seeing all of my old friends again is also really cool. Just trying to stay present and enjoy it all.”