Thursday, bogged down by two consecutive double-bogeys, Magdalena Simmermacher ended the first round of her Q-Series debut at 4-over par. Though it was practically dark outside by the time she finished playing, Simmermacher was determined to hit the driving range and work out her swing.
After she came off the range her coach said: “I know you’ve got it. Just trust it. This is just an opportunity you have now. Next year you have a job, you can play the full LET season, you’re going to play majors.
“Don’t worry about this. Just go and try to do your best golf. If it works, it works. If not, you had a great season already. So don’t worry about it. Don’t be nervous and just go for it.”
That was exactly what Simmermacher needed to hear. Friday, she found six birdies on the front nine and three more on the back to shoot an 8-under 64, tying her career-low. Now 4-under par, Simmermacher has jumped from T94 on the leaderboard to T18.
“(It feels) so good,” Simmermacher said walking off the 18th green. “I just made a lot of putts and gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities, which I didn’t do yesterday, so I’m happy about it.
“I knew I could do it. I wanted nine birdies, that was my goal today. I think that was what kept me going, saying ‘One more, one more birdie, one more.’ It was really fun.”
Simmermacher said Thursday’s 4-over 75 was the product of jet lag and some nerves which threw her out of rhythm. Though it is her Q-Series debut, it is not Simmermacher’s first bout with Q-School. Fresh out of her college career at Old Dominion, the Argentine entered Stage I of Q-School in hopes of joining a professional tour for the 2019 season. She shot 4-over par in the first round and ultimately missed the cut, leaving the young amateur in limbo with no status and no events to play.
In March of 2019, Simmermacher took a leap of faith across the pond and began competing on a variety of European tours, everywhere from Spain to Sweden. Eventually, she gained entry to the LET where she has spent the last three seasons. With a sixth-place finish in the Order of Merit at the end of 2022 – powered by six consecutive top-10 results in the spring, including a runner up finish at the Aramco Team Series Bangkok – Simmermacher earned her spot in Q-Series.
Though she may have started the same way she did in 2018, with a 4-over par first round, Simmermacher won’t be stopped so easily this time around. As her coach reminded her, Simmermacher can play freely knowing she has a job lined up for 2023 and has so much to be proud of in 2022. She also has the benefit of professional experience to carry her through the next two weeks.
The 26-year-old has learned a lot about what it feels like to be in contention and how to manage pressure on the course in her three seasons on the LET. The biggest lesson Simmermacher will take with her into Q-Series is how to focus on herself and stay locked in on her game.
“Just focusing on yourself, the process you’re doing, what you can get better, what you can work on, how you manage the course,” Simmermacher said. “Because everybody does it differently and if you start comparing to someone else you kind of get lost. I think the important part is in the details, so each time you can get better, you can compete. Once your trust is good, you trust yourself, you can put yourself in contention as much as you want. It just depends on you.”
If Simmermacher were to earn her LPGA Tour Card for the 2023 season, she would become just the second player from Argentina to reach the tour. Silvia Bertolaccini, who won four times on tour from 1975-1990, was the last Argentine to compete among the world’s best golfers. Simmermacher would also be one of the few South Americans on the LPGA Tour, joining Ecuador’s Daniela Darquea.
Though she’s put herself in a good position going into the weekend, Simmermacher understands there is too much more golf to be played to be comfortable. Her game managed to warm up on Friday, but who knows when the next cold front will arrive for Simmermacher.
“I feel like I still have to keep on making birdies,” she said. “I knew I had to do something good to keep me going for the week. It’s a really long tournament, so this is just a small part.
“Yesterday was bad, today it was as good. I have to keep building and keep playing good to get the card.”