With Stage I of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament looming in the distance, many Epson Tour members who must travel out to California take at least a week off to rest and prepare. Because of this, and the timing of the tournaments, the Four Winds Invitational field is notoriously short. Just last week, only 128 players competed in South Bend, Indiana, rather than the standard 144.
Instead of withdrawing to prepare, 13 Epson Tour members kept their name in the mix to compete for the Four Winds Invitational title before heading to Stage I. Seven of those players will play six weeks in a row.
Carley Cox, Leslie Cloots, Pinyada Kuvanun, Lindsey McCurdy, Alejandra Llaneza, Anna Redding and Beatrice Wallin began their journey at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in late July and will end at the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic Labor Day Weekend.
“I’m going to take each day as it comes,” said Wallin. “I’ll try to play some good golf and try to relax a lot. I’ll take care of my body as good as I can for 6 weeks.”
For most of the seven, including Redding, keeping that competitive mindset was important and beneficial heading into Stage I. For others, the possibility of winning a tournament and earning the winner’s check was what kept them motivated.
“I’ve felt great and felt like my game was coming along,” said Redding. “I’ve felt a lot better on and off the golf course, so I thought it was really important for me to stay competitive.”
McCurdy, who just missed the cut at the Four Winds Invitational, says she got the preparation she needed, regardless of where she finished on the leaderboard.
“I just needed one more week,” said McCurdy. “Even though it wasn’t the best golf, it was definitely what I needed to get ready for Stage I.”
Being halfway through the six week stretch, Cox understands the importance of rest. She also puts priority on competition, so she’s been careful to not overdo it on the course and listen to her body.
“I think rest and competing are both important,” said Cox. “I think just being in that mindset going into next week, shooting some good scores and building some confidence, knowing my game is there is important.”
The “Road to the LPGA” can sometimes be a tiring journey, but these seven individuals are showing persistence, determination to achieve their goals and dedication to their game. While every week may not go the way they want it to, they’re sticking it out because this is what they love to do.
“I’m just going to try and do my best,” said Kuvanun. “Even if it’s not always good, at least I’m fighting until the end.”