Celine Boutier of France, knocked in a short birdie putt on the first playoff hole to finish off Paolo Moreno of Colombia and earn herself the Self Regional Classic Title. Boutier adds her name to a long list of international Symetra champions for this season. Australians, a Dane, a South Korean, a Brit, and more have all topped 2017 Symetra leaderboards, but no Americans.

Shut out on our home turf! It is a slow start for us, but hats off to the international players for elevating the level of play. We are so lucky here in the States to be able to compete with and watch some of the best competitors in the world right in our backyard. The global game really is a great way to foster relationships between countries. I can’t wait to see an American jump on top of that leaderboard soon as well!

Celine Boutier, winner of the 2017 Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women's Health Classic. Photo: Symetra Tour
Celine Boutier, winner of the 2017 Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic. Photo: Symetra Tour

Along with the Championship, Boutier also netted $30,000! Boom. Historically, Greenwood champs have always ended up in the Symetra Top Ten and on the LPGA Tour by the end of it, but this year with three other tournaments also with purses that are $200,000 or more, it might not be a deadlock guarantee. However, it’s a darn good sign for Celine. She did after all jump from well outside the top ten up to 2nd on the money list, behind Anne-Catherine Tanguay of Canada.

The culmination of Boutier’s efforts concluded on Mother’s Day like they do every year in Greenwood. And just like every year, I’ve ever been there, the weather in Greenwood was perfect, the hospitality in Greenwood was perfect, just about everything in Greenwood was perfect.

Oh yeah, proud side note to the tournament, I was there! “What!” you say?

Yep, I got a lot of confused looks from old Symetra friends… “Are you here playing?… Aren’t you supposed to be in grad school?… Are you caddying this week?” Response, “I’m playin!”

I know, everyone thought that I had retired to be a golf coach and go to grad school. Well shoot, everybody has to have a summer job, right? Did you think I was just going to play tiddlywinks all summer long or what?

All jokes aside, it was super fun to do something competitive again and T39 finish ain’t half bad. I grew up playing many sports most all the time, so it was just nice to be with a ball again. Not that I wasn’t a bit rusty! To be honest, I haven’t played all that many rounds this year… before the event, I could probably count my number of full rounds on one hand. So not terribly surprisingly, despite getting off to a nice start, the rust did catch up to me by the end.

Rachel Rohanna Symetra Tour
Rachel Rohanna at Greenwood. Photo: Symetra Tour

That’s alright, though. I actually really enjoy trying to find my game in the spring. How many of you golfers out there know that spring feeling of working to get back into midsummer’s form after a long winter? You, Yankee folks and Canucks must know what I mean? It can be tough, right? Fortunately for you, this tournament reminded me of a few keys for getting good again in a hurry that I’m going to share.

1Have really low expectations

For example, after doggedly walking off the course on hole number 15 during the practice round because, well I had driven to South Carolina from Ohio that day and was all sorts of hungry and tired, I was thinking wow, golf is exhausting. I set the success bar at… if I am able to walk all of this without having to ask for a ride, then that’s pretty darn good! Then, when you shoot a 68 from out of nowhere on the first day and find yourself tied for the lead, you’ll be really extremely pleasantly surprised as I was! What!?

2Maybe don’t have much in the way of expectations at all

So… if during the first day, my goal was to just make it up the last little hill… every day following, I got a little more greedy and a little worse at golf. Golf has this way… sometimes the harder you push and the better you think you should do, the harder it is to just make it up that hill.

3Get your booty in shape!

Most folks, especially us northerners can relate to the difficulty that gnarly weather causes a person who is trying to shake off the effects of Thanksgiving and Christmas and watching football all winter. I found myself a wee bit out of golf shape mentally and physically. Grad school, with its tireless schedule of: read a bunch, write a bunch, talk it all out a bunch, and then pound coffee and beer in-between in order to survive, isn’t exactly akin to fitness. So what’s the lesson here? Be understanding of yourself. It’s just going to take some time and effort to be a golfing machine again and that’s that. Maybe, next year less brewskies, more yoga?

4Have a great caddie

Liz Nagel and caddie at the 2017 Womens Health Classic. Photo: Symetra Tour

5Be satisfied for Pete’s Sake

Okay, don’t be satisfied to just be okay and finish middle of the pack forever. Of course, you want to win and you want to be better than ever. But, be satisfied with steady progress, and gosh if you happen to go hang in there with a bunch of pros from around the world after a full season of coaching and school, then soak it in for a minute!

Y’all got all that?! You will be in July midsummer golf excellent form in no time. It will probably be July by then because time goes really fast, but don’t blame me for your lack of winter conditioning!

All in all, congratulations to Celine and thank-you Greenwood and Jim Medford for having all of us for the week. I hope you readers enjoyed my little Symetra Tour update and Allie certified advice. I’ll be working on getting it together here all month and I’ll touch base with you again soon. Currently, I’m remembering just how hard it is to figure out hotel travel logistics when everywhere is so far away! And I’m not even from France!

Allie WhiteAllie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks.
“I grew up on an 88-acre farm in Southeast Ohio and currently live in the same area with my dog Finley where I cheer like crazy for all of my favorite Ohio sports teams. I love to play my guitar, listen to music, watch movies, and read good stuff!

My two biggest golf dreams are to play in Toledo Ohio’s LPGA event and to make it back to another US Open. I’m still hunting for that first hole in one!”

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