Lindsey Weaver’s first tournament as a Symetra Tour professional was memorable; one that she is not likely to ever forget.
Often referred to as the “Road to the LPGA,” the Symetra Tour kicked off its 2017 season in Winter Haven, Florida – site of the “Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.”
Not only was Weaver competitive, she contended for the win in her very first event. After an opening round 70 (-2), Weaver shot a 4 – under 68 in the second round earning her a spot in the last pairing for the final round.
Starting the final round at -6, Weaver battled gamely in the final round, posting a 2 – under 70, ultimately finishing in 4th position, with a total score of 208 over the three rounds.
Weaver birdied the 2nd hole, but dropped strokes with a double bogey on the 3rd and a bogey on the 8th, going out in 38 (+2).
She responded like a champion on the back nine, coming in with a 32 (-4), posting birdies on 4 of the last seven holes. Unfortunately for Weaver, two other players in the groups preceding her posted some low scores (67 and a 66) to pip her to 2nd and 3rd place.
While it was not a win, it was quite a start and an impressive introduction to the Symetra Tour for Lindsey Weaver. Not many rookies make it to the final pairing in the last round of their very first tournament on tour.
Then again, Weaver is no stranger to excelling in golf, even as a newcomer. In her freshman year at Notre Dame University in Indiana, she set a pretty high bar for her play.
Her level of play was solid, if not outstanding in her freshman year. She finished the fall season ranked as the number one collegiate golfer in the United States; she set a school record by posting the lowest ever scoring average of 72.71 through 10 events.
In addition, Weaver also set the record for the lowest tournament score in the 11 – year history of the Big East Conference Championship, posting a total score of 210 (-6). Capping it all off, Weaver was unanimously voted the top freshman in the Big East conference.
What is your hometown?
I was born in Waite Hill, Ohio in northeast Cleveland, but moved to Scottsdale, Arizona when I was 11.
What is your Home Course?
Currently none. I was a member at Desert Mountain with six Jack Nicklaus golf courses in Scottsdale, AZ for 8 years before my dad bought a golf course, which moved us back to the Columbus, OH area. He has since shut down the golf course.
What was your major in University?
B.Sc. degree in Finance at University of Arizona
What is your current professional status? – including priority status
107 on the Symetra Tour priority list
When did you start following or watching the LPGA?
When I was 11 I was a volunteer at the LPGA Safeway Classic tournament in Arizona. It was such a cool experience walking side by side with the players. I was with Annika and Brittany Lincicome and they were both very friendly and personable with me.
Did you have a favorite player that you followed or took interest in?
I have always looked up to Annika because she has accomplished so much and given so much back to the game (and she is also a former Arizona player).
What is your favorite tournament event from your collegiate career?
Probably the PAC 12 conference championship. It was exhilarating competing for and eventually winning a conference championship. It was one of the most competitive events we would play all year.
What is your favorite club in your bag?
My putter because it will make or break your round.
What is your favorite shot to play?
Hook or a strong draw around a tree
Not including family or friends, what three people, past or present, would you like to join you in your next tee time?
Tom Brady, NFL Quarterback (New England Patriots), Justin Timberlake, singer – performer, and Ron Swanson, character from the TV Show “Parks and Recreation”. This would be a fun and interesting group to play a round of golf with!
What is currently in your bag*
Driver: Ping G; 10.5 loft; regular flex
3W: Ping G; 14.5 loft; regular flex
5W: Ping G; 17.5 loft; regular flex
Hybrids: 1: Ping G; 26 loft; regular flex; #2: Ping G; 22 loft; regular flex
Irons: Ping G; 6-W
Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0; 58, 54, 50 lofts
Putter: Ping Voss Vault
Ball: Titleist ProV1
*As of May 08, 2017
Start of a Dream
Winning collegiate events and contending in professional golf tournaments is a result of years of practice, dedication, focus and hard work and occasionally sprinkled with some good fortune along the way.
For Weaver, her path to professional golf started at the very tender age of 2 years. It was then that she held her very first golf club and learned to play on a small par-3 course.
“He (my dad) used to carry me from shot to shot when I got tired of playing … I was just two years old. I remember I loved being out there whether I could walk or not. I always had a golf club in my hand.”
Her father, Craig, was an avid golfer himself and in his daughters, Lindsey and her older sister Lauren, he saw an opportunity to introduce them to the game at an early age.
Weaver’s older sister Lauren would eventually go on to play collegiate golf for Northwestern University. Lindsey reflects on her early years, sharing that there was a natural rivalry between her and her sister when it came to their golf. “As you can imagine it was pretty competitive between us growing up,” says Weaver with a playful laugh.
Weaver’s father Craig has naturally become Lindsey’s most important influence in her golfing career to date. Craig continues to serve as her coach and mentor, having served in that role since Lindsey’s early years.
“He has been my coach since I started, he has always encouraged me to go to other people and let them have a look at videos of my swing … I always kind of looked to him for advice … he always helped me the most – he knew my game the most … he is the one I trusted the most with my game”.
Craig Weaver was also the source for some of Lindsey’s most important lessons that she learned about golf.
Craig taught her that it was important to remember that it was a competition and how to be competitive on the course and in tournaments. He also taught her that attitude was important and remaining positive. “Even now, he tells me — if you putt angry, they never go in for you,” says Weaver on the advice that she received from her father.
As for the LPGA itself, Weaver first really started following the LPGA at 11 years of age, when she volunteered at the LPGA Safeway Classic that was held in Arizona that year. She was following the pairing of Annika Sorenstam and Brittany Lincicome.
For Weaver, it was a very inspirational moment as she lists Annika Sorenstam as her childhood golfing hero. She recalls watching Annika on television, noting that “she was always great under pressure; she could hit shots from anywhere. She was always full speed ahead; she was never scared to win. I really liked that about her … she never let up!”
The Collegiate Route
When Lindsey was 11 years of age, Craig and Sandra Weaver relocated their family to the warmer and sunnier climate of Scottsdale, Arizona from their native Ohio. The relocation was part of the parent’s on-going support for their golf-crazy daughters, enabling the girls to take advantage of the better weather so that they could play and practice year round.
Lindsey chuckles as she shares with me that of course, her father Craig also benefited from being able to partake in his favorite past time of golf on a year-round basis as well.
For Lindsey, the highlight of her junior golfing career was the annual Canon Cup/Wyndham Cup which is part of the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) program.
“I played three years (in the event); it is the only boy/girl event. It is the tournament that always motivated me … I had to play well to get in the Canon Cup. (Each team) had ten boys and ten girls … it was match play … like Ryder Cup style”.
As her junior golf career drew closer to an end, her hard work was rewarded with a full, 4-year athletic scholarship at Notre Dame University.
After her successful Freshman year playing for the “Fighting Irish” of Notre Dame University, Weaver transferred to the University of Arizona for her remaining three years.
“I started checking out other schools in May and June and then I decided to transfer to Arizona,” says Weaver.
Regarding her scholarship that she was leaving behind at Notre Dame she says that “I lucked into a full ride (scholarship) there (at Arizona); one of the girls in my same year there decided to transfer back home to Alabama, so they offered her scholarship to me, so I took it. It worked out well.”
The college route has been one of the more traditional routes for players to take on their way to professional golf.
At present day, there are star players such as Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Ariya and her sister Moriya Jutanugarn and Lexi Thompson that have ascended to the LPGA having bypassed the collegiate route altogether.
These star players have been the exception rather than the norm and whether the trend of bypassing college continues – only time will tell.
For Weaver, she decided that it was an important and appropriate path for her to take the college route as she continued to prepare for a professional golf career.
Her career at the University of Arizona became another stepping stone in Weaver’s development and evolution as a player.
On her development as a player, Weaver observed that “I learned a lot about myself, my attitude, acting appropriately on the golf course, being able to stay positive on the golf course.”
As an example, she shares a lesson that her coach at Arizona used, “if you make a bogey it’s okay, you can make a birdie on the next hole … there are plenty of birdies out there, and you have to be your best friend on the golf course … even if you hit a bad shot and you’re upset, think about one positive thing about the shot.”
In addition to the individual growth and developmental opportunities that collegiate golf offered, Weaver also shared in some team success. The University of Arizona “Wildcats” compete in what many golf observers call the toughest conference in all of women’s golf – the PAC 12 (Pacific Athletic Conference).
In 2015, the team was crowned the PAC 12 Conference Champions, having beaten fierce rivals such as Stanford, USC, UCLA, and Arizona State University.
The team also participated in the first ever NCAA Division 1 national championship using the match play format, unfortunately, losing out to rivals and ultimate National Champions – Stanford in the very first round of match play.
Living the Dream
After graduating in May 2016, Weaver set about on the next step of a professional golf career. She quickly entered a “cactus tour” event as a professional. The event was held at the Mission Hills course in Rancho Mirage, California.
This course is known as the site of the LPGA’s first major tournament – the “ANA Inspiration” which was founded originally by American television personality, Dinah Shore and was known for years as the “Dinah Shore Classic.”
Of course, Weaver won the tournament. As she shares this accomplishment with me, I sit back and think to myself that while it may have been a win at a “minor cactus tour” event, it seems to me that Lindsey Weaver is one determined and competitive individual.
After participating in the LPGA’s Qualifying tournaments, reaching Stage III in Florida, Weaver earned a spot on the Symetra Tour for 2017.
As noted earlier, she started her professional, Symetra Tour career with a 4th place finish at the season-opening Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.
Her debut on the Symetra Tour was chock full of personal highlights for Weaver as well. She started her tournament off with a bit of a bang, scoring an “Eagle” shooting a “3” on the par 5 – 13th hole during her opening round. This was her first eagle recorded as a professional. She finished her round with a score of 70 (-2).
Weaver was playing well during the tournament, describing her play as being strong with her wedge/short iron play resulting in many of her shots finishing close to the pins.
An example of her strong iron play came during the second round, as Weaver scored another professional first. She came to the par 3 – 12th hole with a tournament score of -3 and was -1 under for her round that day.
She left the 12th green on her way to the number 13 tee box having recorded an “Ace” or “Hole in One,” to take her score to -5 at that point in the tournament. She finished her second round with a score of 68 (- 4) for the round and placing her second in the tournament with a tournament score of -6. This earned her a place in the last pairing for the final round.
As we discuss the tournament, Weaver points to that as being an important moment for her and her place in the professional ranks. “It (the tournament finish) gave me a lot of confidence, it showed that I could shoot in the 60’s,”.” she says.
Weaver further reflects on the tournament and her overall experience so far, noting that professional golf is a “grind” playing focused and trying to stay focused.
She says that she has learned a big lesson already and that is that every shot counts and that taking a balanced approach allows her to develop as a better player.
She sees her time on the Symetra Tour as something to embrace, welcoming it as an opportunity for her to continue growing as a person and developing her game as a professional. She came into the year with no expectations, wanting to use this season and perhaps a couple of more on the Symetra Tour as a time to refine her game.
She aims to improve her putting, wanting to get her putting average below 2 – strokes per hole. She is also working towards putting together a “go low” round (shooting a 65 or 66), focusing on not only her game but the mental preparation that goes into it.
She also has listed one of her goals as being able to improve her play so that she can shoot low scores in the final rounds – to contend and be competitive on “Sundays.”
As our interview winds down, I come to see Lindsey Weaver as an extremely cheerful person with a wonderful disposition when we first connected. Yet, in our conversations, another side starts to be revealed. Her big smile and cheerful disposition hides a “ruthless” quality and a determination that I think all winners must have.
It is a quality that I think all champions must have – the know how to “close out” a tournament and the ability to do it. I think Lindsey Weaver is one of those individuals – a gracious and charming personality but with a will to win and succeed.
I look forward to seeing Lindsey compete not only on the Symetra Tour but on the LPGA Tour in the not too distant future.
Interview with Lindsey Weaver on May 15th, 2017 and with files from the Symetra Tour, University of Arizona, Notre Dame University websites.
Douglas Jay 🇨🇦, is a single digit handicap golfer who grew up playing hockey in winter and golf in the summer. After graduating from University of British Columbia and Capilano University, he is now a professional in Local Government Management and Administration.
Images: Courtesy: Scott A. Miller / Symetra Tour, Lindsey Weaver