Lakareber Abe won The JOHN SHIPPEN Women’s Shootout presented by Cognizant on Monday and to the victor go the spoils – the spoils being a sponsor’s exemption into this week’s Cognizant Founders Cup. It will be Abe’s LPGA Tour debut and the 26-year-old University of Alabama alum is jazzed about the opportunity to tee it up at Upper Montclair Country Club.
“To have a chance to compete this week and measure my game and see where I needed to improve and compete against the best in the world, it was an incredible opportunity,” said Abe who competes full-time on the Epson Tour. “I kind of looked at it as another round to just have fun and do my best and see what happened yesterday. Lucky enough, I pulled it out and get to be here for the rest of the week.”
Abe joined Epson Tour in 2018 and has made $37,692 in career earnings, notching one top-10 finish in her five years as a member, a tie for third at the 2020 Florida’s Natural Charity Classic. During her years at Alabama, Lakareber made the Second Team All-SEC twice as a sophomore and a senior, and she still holds the record for Low Round and Low Round vs. Par with a 9-under 63 that she fired at the Mason Rudolph Championship her junior year. Eight active LPGA Tour members have played collegiate golf for the Crimson Tide and those roots still run very deep for Abe. She’s planning to pick the brains of her fellow teammates ahead of Thursday’s first round and says that it’s inspiring and motivating to see what they’ve accomplished during their time on Tour.
“When they're people you've been around for a long time, if they can do it, you can see yourself doing it as well,” said Abe. “It definitely gives me confidence, but it's also really fun to see some of my closest friends succeed and their dreams come true as well. I texted with Lauren (Stephenson) yesterday. Just asked a couple of questions. Then I saw Emma (Talley) from afar today. We kind of just gave each other air hugs and said, 'I'll see you later.' I'm definitely going to sit down and try to ask them for help on how to manage everything, what they think about the golf course, how to play and all that stuff. I'll lean on them probably a lot.”
But Abe’s main focus for her first-ever LPGA Tour is staying focused on what’s ahead of her and savoring the moment. “I'm two weeks into this journey. It's a newer adopted mentality, but I was telling my friends just joking, sometimes I'm just like, ‘Hey, Lak, where are your feet? They're on the third fairway. Just keep going.’ The last few rounds I've played my goal has been to have fun and be where my feet are. I'm going to try to do my best and do the same thing this week and just enjoy it and see what happens.”