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An Unexpected Journey | LPGA

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As I prepare to play in the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship, my first-ever major on the LPGA Tour, I can’t help but reflect on how I got here. Whether it was growing up on a golf course or getting away from sports and everything, my background has certainly not been traditional.

Yet through the good, the bad, and the ugly, this sport has taken me to places I never dreamed of and down paths I would never have traveled otherwise. For that, without a doubt, I am incredibly grateful.

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It all started for me at a very young age. My dad is a PGA professional so inevitably I picked a club too. I tried a ton of different sports at first, but golf felt natural. As if it was in my blood.

As I continued to grow and develop, my skill level also increased. In high school, I won three state championships and it became increasingly clear that golf was my calling.

I was engaged. I signed with Tulane to play college golf, but things didn’t go as planned. Long story short, after a year (and a hurricane), Tulane dropped the program due to budget cuts.

As I explored other schools, UNC Wilmington popped up on my radar. I ended up transferring and finishing my college career as a Seahawk.

There is no doubt that my time in Wilmington was formative and defining. You’re not just growing as a golfer in college – you’re also growing a lot as a person as you try to figure out the next stage of your life.

For me, the next step was not Q-School. At least not right away. It took me a year after graduating before I started to embrace my career as a professional golfer.

I qualified for the Epson Tour and played from 2012 to 2017. It was a phenomenal experience where I met lifelong friends and competed at the highest level. Eventually, however, I reached a crossroads.

I had been doing this for a very long time, and the energy and money invested in touring made me rethink my future career path. The life of a professional golfer is difficult and expensive. The realities of training, travel and basic necessities make touring an expensive undertaking.

I loved golf and everything related to it. But at this point in my life, I was ready for a change.

I decided to step away from gambling and work as a financial advisor, basically putting my college degree to good use. Still, the 9 to 5 and general work environment just didn’t feel like the right thing for me. Honestly, I missed playing golf.

Recognizing that I needed golf in my life, I went part-time as a financial advisor and got involved in the sport again.

I started teaching golf in high school, which is one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. Teaching other golfers like me how to push and be better was so rewarding. It reignited my love for the sport at a time when I had no idea what my next steps would be. I was teaching them, but in some ways they were teaching me.

Finding my place and adapting to my unique journey was not always easy, but I succeeded.

2018 and 2019 have been roller coasters.

Let’s start with the good. In 2018, I married my husband. He deserves special recognition in this story because meeting him was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Getting married and starting a family with him was an absolute blessing that changed my life forever.

Unfortunately, I needed his strength and support more than I ever wanted.

In 2019, my sister had a terrible accident. She was confined to a wheelchair for six months – it changed her life and that of our family.

Going through the recovery journey with her (and her hard work paid off as she is almost fully recovered as I write this) was a reality check on what really mattered in life. We often get so caught up in our own careers and passions that we forget that family is what matters. People who love us and care for us are what we should focus on.

Although this moment was a terrible low for my family, it taught me a valuable lesson and helped ground me. Sometimes the highs follow the lows. During this period, we discovered that I was pregnant with my son.

All of these experiences have made me appreciate and appreciate golf even more.

When I was offered a position to become an LPGA pro at the Baltimore Country Club, I jumped at the chance. There is a quality team and members at the BCC, I am really proud to be there.

This move made so much sense because my priorities had changed. My way of seeing the game had changed. Above all, it was the perfect solution for me to stay involved in a sport that has given me so much over the years and to give back as an instructor.

When I qualified for the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship last year, I felt like everything had been built up to that point in my career. As the event draws closer, it finally starts to feel more and more real too.

To be honest, I don’t have extremely high expectations before the event. If you read my story, you will probably understand why. I want to soak it all up and can’t wait to catch up with old friends and have a good time. For my almost 2 year old son to see his mom birdie would be a nice bonus.

Reflecting on my journey, I can’t help but smile. When I left in 2017, I certainly did not expect to play in the most prestigious event I have ever played five years later.

Then again, as my story has shown me more than once, life has a funny way of working. And sometimes you just have to trust the process.

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