After a fun week in Kansas City, I headed down to Roswell, Georgia for the Judson Collegiate Invitational & Legends Tour Pro-Am. This tournament ended up being one of the greatest experiences I have had on the golf course. The Judson was named for Jim and Beth Judson, parents of collegiate golfer Lauren Judson, who were killed in a 2010 plane crash on their way home from one of Lauren's tournaments. Lauren created the JCI as a way to honor her parents. This unique event combined a 3-day stroke play tournament for collegiate players with a 1-day LPGA Legends Tour event, and the week began with a Pro-Am which raised $13,000 for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The strength and vision of Lauren and her brother, Dean, was amazing. They put on an incredible week of events that would have made any parents proud.
My experience at the Judson was highlighted by the time I spent playing alongside the LPGA Legends Tour women. My Pro-Am partner was Val Skinner. Skinner was a former NCAA #1 Ranked player, a 6 time winner on the LPGA Tour, and is now an analyst for the Golf Channel. The next day I played with LPGA greats Donna Caponi and Jane Blalock. Caponi won an impressive 29 times on the LPGA tour and collected 4 major titles, including back-to-back US Women's Opens. Blalock won 27 times and was LPGA Rookie of the Year in 1969. All three women were kind enough to offer a great deal advice about life on tour. It is not very often (i.e., never) that I get to have an extended conversation with women who have actually accomplished the things I am trying to do, so this was a dream come true. My final highlight was talking to Nancy Lopez. I asked her how she stayed calm when leading a tournament and she answered, "Lots of deep breaths" and "As long as I've got a backswing, I go for the pin." ...such awesome advice from a true legend.
The first two days of the event were so much fun that I almost forgot that I was there to play golf, too. I started off 75-74 and was in 5th place going into the final round. I then carded a 2-under 69, tying the low round of the tournament, and came away with a T-2nd place finish. Full results are listed here.
A quick 36 hours in Boise gave me time to workout, practice, and repack before my mom and I headed north to Canada. Tomorrow begins the first round of the Canadian Amateur here in Lethbridge, Alberta. This tournament features a top-notch field so I am looking forward to some fierce competition the next 4 days. You can follow scores on the Royale Cup Canadian Women's Amateur Leaderboard. Wish me luck, eh!
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