LPGA Debut in Paradise

Bahamas LPGA

Very unexpected and last minute, I got to make my LPGA debut in Paradise Island in the Bahamas which was both a very windy and valuable experience.

Having qualified for the LPGA tour in December, there have been a lot of things going on in a very short period of time. It has been a little overwhelming at times, but some very good problems to have of course! I am so thrilled for the season ahead, but with the year starting out with limited field events (due to the shorter hours of daylight) I have not expected to get into the first two events in Ocala Florida and here at the Bahamas, since I was on the alternate list. Therefore, it all happened rather quickly when I Saturday night found out for sure, that I got into the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. Last minute ticket, thanks to a friend I had a hotel bed to sleep in, and I was on my way…

Since it was unexpected and I had counted on two more weeks of preparation before heading to Australia, I didn’t have high expectations and just wanted to take it all in and hopefully have a great first experience on the LPGA. In that regard, the trip was a big success. It was awesome to see how different the setup around the tournament was compared to what I have been used to on the Symetra Tour. I got to meet a lot of really nice people and just loved the overall atmosphere. This is what I have worked towards for a long time, so to actually be here and experience it all is a great feeling.

Come Thursday it was tournament day and (unfortunately) I was in the afternoon wave of players and got to tee off in some breezy conditions after a fairly calm morning in comparison. I definitely felt the nerves a little bit but hit a great drive and walked away with a par on my first hole. But however much I tried to calm myself, I was still nervous on the second hole and paid the price as a slightly pulled shot gave me a bad lie on the edge of the bunker and I walked away with a double bogey after a missed 4-footer. In some odd way however, I needed to get that out of the system and from then on the nerves were gone and I just started playing golf again. I finished with a birdie on my 7th hole before play was called for the day due to some serious rain.

The next day I had to both finish the first round and complete the second round in probably some of the windiest conditions I have ever played in. From morning until night, the wind howled off the ocean and it definitely made the course play hard. Every shot you had to focus extra and any mishit was amplified by the wind. I got unlucky with a buried ball in the bunker lip on one hole and walked away with double, but other than that I played really well all day and most importantly felt great out there. Any jitters from the day before were completely gone and I just enjoyed playing golf and could focus properly on what I was doing.

The first round ended with a round of +2 and after a 20 minute break it was back in the wind to play the second round. I started out with a birdie and from then on kept hitting good shots and making pars. Everything was going great, even when we were put on the clock with just 3 holes to finish. On my second to last hole I pulled my driver a little bit, and while we all thought I would be completely fine there was no sign of the ball anywhere near the hazard, so I had to take a drop. Having done so well all day playing good golf, I think I mentally freaked out a bit and made a mess on the green as well. It was so tough and heartbreaking finishing my 17th hole with a triple bogey after all the hard work on the previous 16 holes where I was -1 for the day. Even then, I thought that in these conditions I still had a chance. However, a bogey on the last made sure that I wouldn’t be playing in the weekend and it just comes to show how quickly things can change in this game.

With the other half of the field finishing their second round Saturday morning when the wind had died completely down, I was actually really surprised to see that the cut ended in +1. I know a lot of players finishing in +2 or +3 who were close to certain that they would be making the cut, but because of the varying weather conditions, it turned out differently.

With my limited preparation to this tournament and with all the new impressions, I am actually really proud of myself for how everything went this week in the Bahamas. I know I didn’t make the cut but it only took me 2 holes to feel comfortable in this new setting and I played a lot of good golf out there. The competition out here is just on a completely different level than what I am used to, and where I could afford a few bad holes on the Symetra Tour, there is no room for that out here on the LPGA. If you are having a good day out there, you can be sure some 30+ players have had the same or an even better day. With the way it all happened, tripping just before the finish line, it was really disappointing to miss the cut. When considering I have missed 3 cuts in the past 3 years, it definitely is a weird feeling sitting the weekend out and to an extend feels like a small failure. However, I have to think about all the positives that came out of playing this week in the Bahamas, and there are many, for one I wasn’t even supposed to be here!

Some things have to be experienced on your own body despite how much advice you can get from others. All things considered, I am proud of how I handled everything out there and while I didn’t make the cut, can be happy with how this week turned out. I know I have some work to do, especially with my game around the greens but I know I will get there. As tempting as it may sound to stay in the Bahamas till Monday morning I got on a flight Saturday back to Phoenix where I could decompress and start preparing for the long trip to Australia.

Thank you all so much for following and supporting along the way!