by Casey Kennedy.
So, as an update… I have made it to the final stage of the LPGA Q-School 2015! This past week was probably one of the most exhilarating experiences of my entire rookie year as a professional golfer. This year has been filled with so many sacrifices, long days and difficult choices, but it has also been my most amazing year to date.
Going into the competition, I knew what was at hand, an opportunity to make it to the final stage and have a shot at becoming a professional player on tour by 2016. With that mindset I knew I had to show up if I wanted a shot at that opportunity.
On my first day, I felt the heat, I was nervous and was trying to recall everything that I could from all the books I read throughout the year, “focus on this, don’t focus on that… don’t overthink, but don’t underthink…etc, etc, etc.” I found that after the first day, I was not only mentally exhausted, but I was left with more questions than answers.
On the night after my first round, my caddy and I had a conversation about what was important to me, why I was out there playing, and what I was focusing on. The next day when I teed off, my mind was still going a million miles an hour. Some point at around the 4th hole I decided that that was it, I was just going to play, somehow a switch in my mind turned on and told my body to believe in itself and have the poise to swing with confidence.
This was the moment at which I realized, I didn’t need to read a thousand books to figure out my mental game, what I needed to do was start to believe in myself and take control of my confidence and believe in the process. I started taking my time, not being afraid to set up and pick a target and attempt to get as close to it as possible, going through my motions and taking my time to really feel the confidence in my swing.
At the end of that round, I shot a 74 for the day. With that score, I continued to build more and more confidence, at this point in time, I knew I didn’t have to come in first, although every opportunity I tried to set myself up for a birdie putt, I knew that I just had to place to move on for a chance to go to Final Stage. I must admit, I did leave a lot of birdie putts out on the course on all four days, however, getting that close to the hole, I know two things, one, I know what I need to work on, and two, I can definitely sink the birdie putts and set myself up for contention for one of the spots to receive my card.
Day 3 came and went, and my confidence kept growing and growing, I felt excited. I felt happy about being out there, and it felt good to be playing the sport which I spent my whole life playing. It felt natural, and most importantly, I felt like I do belong out there. That confidence which the first three days gave me carried over onto the final day of competition, at that time, my caddy and I had checked the scores and knew I was in 66th place, I knew I just needed to finish strong and I would be in.
When I sunk the putt on the 18th on the fourth day, I was relieved. I knew I had made it, but it didn’t really sink in that this was the furthest I have gone to date in my career until later on in the night when I was talking to my caddy. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to become a professional golfer on the LPGA tour, but at that moment, I realized that it was no longer just a dream, but a real possibility. I believed in my abilities, I kept myself composed, and I kept a good attitude no matter what came my way, and all because I finally decided to believe in the reality that my confidence is in fact there and that my game is, in fact, good enough to compete against the highly skilled level of players which I am now facing.
Regardless of the outcome of what may happen from here on out, I know that my future will be dictated by the amount of work and dedication I put into what I do, and I know good things take time, so with that, I am willing to put in the work, and see this thing through to see where the game of golf takes me. I want to be an LPGA tour player, but most importantly, I want to be able to say that I went after my goals and in the process I learned more about myself and how to be a better person than I could have any other way.
Second Stage was an amazing opportunity, I want to thank the people of my hometown of Venice, Florida for volunteering to be out there, I want to thank the Plantation Country Club for their amazing facilities, and I also want to thank Biion Footwear for taking a chance on a girl who had a dream of seeing whether or not she could make it at this level of play, and from the direction I am headed, I hope that we can have a long and mutually beneficial relationship. I also want to thank BlueFit Clothing for their continued support. But most importantly, I want to thank my friends and family who believe in me, and think I can do this, and as well as Coastal Securities, Inc. Lastly, I want to send a huge thank you to the owners of Womensgolf.com for taking a chance and believing in my abilities since my earliest days of being a rookie. I will work hard every day to be the best, it will not be an easy journey, but I am doing what I love, and would not have it any other way.
30 October 2015
*Photos by Mark Seiden
Casey is in the first days of what we think will be a long and successful career in professional golf.
You can support Casey Kennedy with a donation of any size on her fundraising page.