Casey Kennedy’s latest post in her Player Journal.
As my first year has proved to be challenging in the best way possible when opportunities come about, I do my best to take advantage of them. In July, I had the chance to sign up for the PGA Michigan Women’s Open. With limited exposure this year, I was excited for my first three-day event of the year. In addition, I was able to contact the event organizers regarding an opportunity to be the Pro in a Pro-am at Crystal Mountain two days before the PGA Michigan Women’s Open. On the weekend leading up to the Tournament, I was able to play with great ladies who knew the course really well, and were a very enjoyable group to play with. This positive mindset of the women around me helped me relax before shifting focus on competing in the tournament.
As the Tournament started, I opened up the first day with a 69 and was pretty satisfied with my round and knew I wasn’t too far back from the lead. On the second day, I had an afternoon tee-time and as I was warming up in an already cool Michigan Summer day, a cold front came through in which the temperature dropped significantly with heavy winds, I prepared as best as I could with gear, but it was insufficient. At first I kept a good attitude knowing that everyone had to play in it as well, but as the round went on it started to wear on me. Unfortunately, after having a couple bad holes, the environment got into my head and I was giving it a lot more though to it than it deserved. After having a bad day and knowing that I let the weather get to me, it was pretty defeating. But I knew it wasn’t over and that I could still come out the next day and play my game and finish well. I was happy that I was able to make the cut, and I was ready to play my first final round of the year. The next day my score did not reflect it, but I was proud of myself for keeping a good attitude the whole round even though I did not play to my abilities. Although the outcome was not what I was hoping for, I was able to learn from the experience and add it to experience log this year.
Amazingly, I also was on the waiting list for the Tullymore Classic, but I did not know whether or not I would get in until the final round of the PGA Michigan Women’s Open. Surprisingly, I made the field and decided to scramble to do everything I could to get to Tullymore as this was my first event of the year as a Rookie on the LPGA Symetra Tour.
Luckily the Tullymore Classic was only two hours away from the Crystal Mt. Resort. I packed my stuff up, jumped in my little rental car, and while on my way there, I made a stop to square away my rental car extension, reschedule my flight, and secure housing for Tullymore. Initially, I didn’t know if I would get in, so I had made my plans shorter than expected and if things changed would have adjusted my travel arrangements, which I ended up having to do, with a smile on my face. Once all this was taken care of, I was on my way to my next event confident that I was ready to play better golf.
First round I shot a solid 71, 1 under par. I was putting the ball well, just needed to hit a few more greens and fairways and I knew I could be right there. Second round I shot another solid 71. I had made the cut in my first Symetra event this year as a Rookie! This was a great personal step for me because I proved to myself that after all my hard work, training, hitting the weight room, running, and reading about the mental part of the game, and scraping the money together to participate when given the chance, that I belonged out there.
Furthermore, knowing that making the cut will give me more status moving forward was also an amazing outcome. An interesting note regarding this event, though, it has been a while since I played in front of a large crowd, when I got to the 18th hole, it was one of the larger crowds I have seen in my time competing, the funny part was that being surrounded by people was not what gave me jitters, all I was focused on was making sure I made my put, once I had finished, then the crowd set in on my mind. That stood out to me because it made me feel more relaxed to know that the competitive environment that I want to go into is not a scary one, it is just another level of play for me to excel and become better at, and the crowds are just a positive addition to the mix.
My experience in Michigan was great, I felt the fun and excitement I had been missing from not playing in enough tournaments, as a Rookie with limited game-play that was a great feeling. That two tournament span helped teach me a few things as well, it gave me confidence that I belong out there and that I know I can compete with the best and know that I can make this dream of mine a full-fledged reality, I just need to trust in the process.
I would like to give a HUGE THANKS to all those who I met when in Michigan. It was my first trip to this great state, and everyone was more than inviting. I want to thank my host families and their amazing pets, the owners of the Crystal Mountain Resort and the Tullymore Golf Resort for their amazing facilities and positive and engaging personalities, and most importantly, I would like to thank the PGA Michigan Women’s Open organizers and the LPGA Symetra Event Organizers for giving me this great opportunity to compete and share my experiences with everyone. Lastly, thank you to all my supporters and donors and my small team, without you, none of this would be possible.
Women’s Golf is proud to be associated with Casey in the first days of what we think will be a long and successful career in professional golf. She is a credit to herself and an example to many other talented and hard-working young women.