Lauren Freyvogel is from Pittsburgh, PA. She picked up her first golf club at the young age of five. Now a sophomore in high school, she dominates at the number one spot for the Pine-Richland Rams. In 2014, Lauren competed in the inaugural Drive, Chip, and Putt at Augusta National Golf Club. This is the same year she joined the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour. And little did she know, three years later, this tour would provide her the opportunity to qualify for her first ever women’s professional golf tournament!
On April 1, 2017, Lauren competed in the PKBGT Women’s Health Classic Junior Challenge Symetra Qualifier. With rounds of 70-77, she won by four strokes. However, this win was unlike any other. The victory qualified Lauren to play an event on the Symetra Tour, a tour whose mission it is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. So, beginning the week of May 8, 2017, Lauren played with the pros. She practiced with them, learned from them, and, most importantly, she built relationships with them.
Allison Emery, PKBGT Alum and LPGA Ambassador, reached out to Lauren via email congratulating her on the great accomplishment. Although she did not get to meet Allison in person, Lauren was extremely humbled by the gesture.
“I played with Sammi Stevens on both days,” Lauren said. “She was really nice and even offered me college recruiting advice. She gave me her card and said to keep in touch. We’ve emailed back-and-forth since I’ve been home.”
Leading up to Thursday, Lauren’s preparation was just like any other tournament. She played a couple practice rounds, hit golf balls on the driving range, and focused a lot on her short game. However, in-between sessions Lauren was invited to the Pro-Am Party where she met Mr. Medford, Chairman, and Owner of The Links at Stoney Point, and the Women’s Health Classic Tournament Director, Mike Parker
“I was nervous,” Lauren said heading into Thursdays round, “but also very excited! I got off to a good start and made par on the first couple of holes. The Symetra event played over 300 yards longer than I had played on the course for the PKBGT Qualifier. That made more of a difference than I had expected. I was keeping up with the pros ok off the tee, but the added distance impacted my club selection for many of my approach shots. I had some difficult holes after that, but I hung in there and did the best I could.”
Lauren did not advance to the weekend, however, she expressed great humility towards her debut on the Symetra Tour. “This has been a wonderful experience! I loved being inside the ropes with the pros! I learned just how much I want to be out there and compete at this level of competition.”
And Lauren’s golf adventure will not end here. She remains a positive force on the course and plans to continue developing her strength and technique within the coming years. Her drive and passion for the game stem from that of her favorite PGA Tour player Rickie Fowler. “He always has a great attitude on the course, even if he hits a bad shot. I have a life-size cardboard display of him in my room. My custom club fitter, Chris Marchini, Manager of Golf Galaxy in Pittsburgh, saved it for me after the store was finished with the display. It looks super cool!”
As for college, “My goals still include playing golf,” Lauren explained. “I’ve visited several schools, and I am very grateful to have options available at the Division I level. I’m pretty sure I’d like to major in business. I take business courses as my high school electives, and I really enjoy those classes. I also found out that I really like Chemistry this year. I took Honors Chemistry this year, and I’m taking AP Chemistry next year. I’d like to combine my passion for golf with a business career someday, that is if I’m not out there on the professional tour! I have not yet decided which golf program nor school would be the best fit for me, however, I am working through that process right now.”
As for what’s next, Lauren will be competing in regional and national events this summer, as well as, looking to make her mark at the tour’s premier competition this fall, the PKBGT Invitational. We cannot wait to watch her grow with us and chase her dreams! For more information about the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour and how you can get involved, go to pkbgt.org.
Ashley Osiecki lives in Charlotte, N.C., and is a recent graduate and student-athlete from Queens University of Charlotte where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications with a minor in Sports Communications.
Throughout her time at Queens, Ashley took advantage of many rewarding internships. She is currently an intern with a local marketing and media company, National Amateur Sports. She also traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a student journalist at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Prior to this, she was a communications intern for a Premier Soccer League team, the Charlotte Independence, and a marketing and promotions intern for her universities athletics department, Queens University of Charlotte Athletics.
While she committed to play four years of college soccer for Queens, she did play golf with the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour from 2008 – 2012. She was the 2009 Peggy Kirk Bell Order of Merit Runner Up, Future’s Division.
Ashley Osiecki lives in Charlotte, N.C. Follow Ashley online on Twitter @ashleyosiecki.