LPGA Q-School Stage III Results

The grind of Q-school is over for the ladies and congratulations to the women that got their LPGA cards for 2013!  For anyone following my blog you know that I have been following the LPGA Q-school since stage I.  After stage II I reported that I would be watching four players in Stage III:

  1. Moriya Jutanugam (Thailand) – One of the top amateur players in women’s golf.
  2. Brooke Pancake – Winner of the 2012 Collegiate Women Sports Award for Golf.
  3. Anya Alvarez – A player from the 2012 Big Break Atlantis.
  4. Christina Kim  –  LPGA Professional that has been on tour for 10 years, is very popular, well-known on Twitter, and struggling with her game.

Note: On September 4, 2012, I wrote an overview of the LPGA Q-School.

LPGA Stage III Q-School Results

Stage III of the LPGA Q-school was held Nov 28 to Dec 2, at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida.  They played two courses, the Champion & Legends.  The full results give the scores for all five rounds and the final positions. The top 20 get full-status on the LPGA tour for 2013 and players finishing 21-45 get conditional status (so they may get to play a few tournaments but not many).  If you want to see a good list of the 20 players to secure their cards read the Golf Week Article.  Here are how the four I followed finished:

  1. Moriya Jutanugam – Tied 1st place, total score 347 (13 under par). As a winner she will forever have the title of medalist honors for Q-School!  This is a good omen given that past medalists include Stacy Lewis (2012 Player of the Year). I am not surprised she won since she has been one of the top amateur players this year.  But, she did not end with a solo win.  Jutanugam shares the medalist honors with Rebecca Lee-Bentham (who was a rookie on the LPGA in 2012 but needed to go to Q-school to retain her LPGA status).
  2. Brooke Pancake – Tied 11th, total Score 356 (four under par). I’ve been following Pancake since her last year in college (because I liked her name and now I am a fan of her game).  It will be fun to watch her during her rookie year in 2013.
  3. Anya Alvarez – Tied 54th, total score 363 (four over par). Unfortunately for Alvarez she did not get her tour card.  Shooting 75, and 75 the first two days was not a great start and even with a 69 on day three she did not recover and shot 74, and 70 to finish out her week.
  4. Christina Kim – Tied 39, total score 361 (one over par). Kim only had one good day during the week.  Round 2 she shoot a 67 (but the rest of her scores were 72,73,74,75 – not in that order).  But Kim fares better than Alvarez because of her career she will play with sponsor exemptions too.  I wasn’t sure how sponsor exemptions work so I tweeted a question to Stina Sternberg, Senior Editor, Golf Digest, covering women’s golf.  As Sternberg explains, Kim won a conditional card (for finishing in T39) but that does not help a lot.  But she gets in to at least 6 tournaments on sponsor exemptions; and can play in USWO (United States Women’s Open) qualifiers to get into the US Women’s Open.
Image of Twitter Conversation with Stina Sternberg

Twitter Conversation with Stina Sternberg

Results for Big Break Alum

Anya Alverez was not the only Big Break Alum in Stage III.  There were two other players at Q-school from past Big Break shows.

  1. Kim Welch – Tied 11th, total score 356 (4 under par).  Welch was the winner on Big Break Ka’anapali in 2008 so it just shows how hard it is to make it on to the LPGA tour.
  2. Kelly Jacques – Tied 17th, total score 357 (3 under par).  However, Jacques (from Big Break Ireland 2011) had a more heartbreaking end to her Q-school.  Jacques ended in seven-player tie for the final four spots in the top-20 so she had to go into a playoff.  Unfortunately she did not win one of the 4 spots and only got conditional status but it is still a great accomplishment.

Final Thoughts

The LPGA Q-school is great golf drama and I wish it had been televised on the Golf Channel.  I know it is expensive to televise golf but I think the final round would have been exciting for golfers to watch on TV.  At a minimum, I would have liked the Golf Channel to have more video from each day.  After all, the Golf Channel did show clips from the PGA Q-school on Golf Central each day.  Perhaps next year the Golf Channel will give air time to LPGA Q-school.  Given that the PGA is changing their process for next year and getting rid of Q-School for the PGA tour — maybe, just maybe the LPGA will get the spotlight next year.

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It’s a “Bogey Ballton” Christmas – Book Review and Donation

Image of Book Cover for Bogey Ballton's Night Before Christmas

Go to Scooterpines.com to buy the book

Bogey Ballton’s Night Before Christmas  is a clever rendition of the classic “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” or “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore.

This is the second book review I have done of Bogey Ballton and it was because of the first review that I wanted to buy this Christmas book.

As with the first book, “Bogey Tees Off,” the illustrations are whimsical and fun; and a life lesson is part of the story.

I was really curious about how they would tell an iconic Christmas story with a golf theme and I was pleasantly surprised.  If you are a Christmas snob you may not like a book that takes on a classic but I loved the fun and quirky way the story portrays Santa and reindeer.

Again, when you give the gift of a Bogey Ballton book you are not just giving a great gift but you are also giving to charity.  So, I encourage everyone to get Bogey’s Christmas book.  Also, if you have not purchased “Bogey Tees Off” then buy both books and double the fun of reading with your child.  Or if you want to give the gift of reading to many children then do as I did and donate Bogey Ballton books to your local library.

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with the Bogey Ballton team.  I’m just a golf fan who likes Bogey Ballton books.

Donate “Bogey Tees Off” to your local library

Bogey Tees Off Book Cover

Go to scooterpines.com to learn more about Bogey Tees Off

Bogey Tees Off is a wonderful golf book for any child.  If you are like me, and do not have children of your own, I encourage you to buy the book and donate it to your local library.  I did and here is my story on how I came to love Bogey Ballton, a range ball who wants to play on tour.

Dottie Pepper, co-author of “Bogey Tees Off,” was giving an interview and her joy for her book was infectious.  Pepper spoke about “the lesson about being truthful” as a theme, the glossary of golf terms, and the autograph signature space at the back of the book.

She also spoke about her co-author and creator of Bogey Ballton, Scott Fuller and the wonderful illustrations by Kenneth Templeton.  Finally, I was impressed that a percentage of the book sales went to charities; including junior golf initiatives.  I had a fleeting thought to buy the book but felt it would be silly for me to buy the book since I could not think of any young child to give it to as a gift.

After the interview, I tweeted Dottie Pepper to give her kudos for the interview.

Image of Twitter Conversation with Dottie Pepper

Twitter Conversation with Dottie Pepper

The Tweet from Dottie Pepper was enough encouragement for me to do a search online for the book.  You can buy it at the major online book sites but I wanted to learn a bit more about the book so I went to the official website.  I decided to buy the hardcover book motivated by the fact I was supporting junior golf.

The book arrived and I took a few minutes to read it.  To my surprise, I really enjoyed the story.  The true sign of a good book from me is I want to know what happens next and that’s how I felt after reading “Bogey Tees Off.”  So I am hooked and will be watching for the release of volume 2 of the Bogey Ballton series.

I really wish my nieces were younger so I could give the book to them.  However, I refuse to be one of those Aunts that gives a gift that is based on my likes and not their interests.  My nieces are at the stage in life where music, movies, clothes, and boys are more interesting than golf  — which is just fine with me.

Later that day I was online reserving a book from my library and it hit me.  Maybe the local library takes book donations.  I searched the online book catalog for “Bogey Tees Off” and it was not listed.  So I took the book to my library, walked into the children’s room (which I had never been in), and spoke to the children’s librarian.

The librarian was a bit skeptical because she looked in her “purchasing system” and did not see the book.  I explained that Dottie Pepper was a famous golfer and this was her first children’s book, etc.  The librarian said she would need to read the book and get back to me as to whether or not she would be able to add it to the collection.  At first I was surprised (maybe a tad offended) that my book donation was in question.  But then I realized she had a responsibility to provide quality books to the children of our town.

After a number of weeks I was beginning to wonder if I would ever hear from the Librarian.  Finally, the call came and the news was wonderful.  The librarian said “This is a book I definitely want to add to the children’s collection.  Thank you for thinking of us.”  I felt so happy that she liked the book and it was now going to be available for kids in my town to read.  The librarian also reminded me that my town is a member of a network that includes a consortium of 42 libraries and anyone can reserve the book online.

This is a simple story about one small act to donate a book to a library but it also is one small step in helping expose a new generation to a great sport.  You never know who you will impact with a “small act of kindness” but it feels great to do something, even if it seems minor in the scoop of bigger charitable activities you do in life.

Take action and donate “Bogey Tees Off” to your local library. Who knows, maybe some child that reads the book you donated will decide to play golf and even go “on tour” one day.

They just keep getting younger: 10-year-old Latanna Stone makes history

In June, 14-year-old, Andy Zhang became the youngest player to qualify and play in the US Open.  This week another young golfer makes news.  Latanna Stone, age 10, qualified for the US Women’s Amateur.

When I heard about Andy Zhang I thought he was too young.  I was curious what a few of the golf experts I follow on twitter thought of his age.  I sent a tweet and got a reply from Stina Sternberg, Senior Editor, Golf Digest.  Below is the twitter conversation.

Twitter conversation with Stina SternbergI was a bit surprised by Stina Sternberg’s reply.  I still felt that 14 was too young.  My opinion is that 18 would be a reasonable age requirement.  After all, the USGA has “age limits” for other championships (e.g. junior and senior events).

When I saw the news this week that a 10-year-old made the US Women’s Amateur, I said out loud (to myself) — “ridiculous.”  I have no doubt the young girl is very talented but I just don’t agree with a 10-year-old competing in the event.

You might have caught that in the tweet above, Sternberg said “If you qualify, I don’t care if you are 10…”  So imagine my surprise when I saw this tweet from Sternberg…

Stina Sternberg wrote a great article about Latanna Stone.  Sternberg explains Stone’s background and highlights the fact this young girl is home schooled and has a  “professional website”.  Sternberg suggests it is time for the “USGA to revisit its own regulations.”  Sternberg goes on to state that the USGA should have them “wait until they’re at least 14 to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.”  I still think 14 is too young but I’m glad to see Sternberg does feel 10-years-old is too young.

I know it is common for kids today to spend a lot of time playing and practicing their chosen sport.  My friends with kids spend hours traveling around on weekends to take the kids to soccer, basketball, baseball, and hockey games.  But, these kids compete against other kids.  I support all the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) competitions and the USGA’s junior competitions where young golfers compete against their peers.

So why the urgency to play in the other events?  Because the can? Only the young golfer (and the parents) know the real motivation.  I must admit I wonder if the parents worry about their child suffering from burnout or repetitive motion injuries (which could happen just when they should be peaking for a professional career.)

The bottom line is that until the age limits change these kids have a right to play in the events.  It’s impossible to deny the amazing talent they posses.  So, congratulations to these young golfers for making it to the highest level of amateur golf.  I just hope these young golfers get to be “kids” too!

Karen Palacios-Jansen delivers a fun and informative online golf class

The Golf Channel Program, Morning Drive, is one of my favorite shows and that is where I first saw Karen Palacios-Jansen providing tips to improve one’s golf game.  I loved the combination of swing tips and off-course exercises Karen provided and thought it would be great if I could find someone like her (golf pro and certified personal trainer) locally.  Well, now I don’t have to look because I can work with Karen online.  Yes, from the comfort of my own home, I can work with a LPGA teacher of the year.

At first I was skeptical when I saw that Karen was providing online golf instruction via the web. I have participated in plenty of online courses but they did not involve any physical activity.  I was curious to see if it would be possible to create the interaction of a face-to-face golf lesson or workout session online.  Here is what I experienced:

The Technology for the Class

I did not recognize the website, Powhow and so I read the “about us” section of the site, the terms & conditions, and the refund policy. The company is new and their focus is providing great technology for online classes.  The terms were fairly standard and I was pleased to see the refund policy was in plain English and seemed very reasonable.  Please make sure you read the terms and policies anytime you use a website for the first time.

It was easy to sign-up and email reminders were sent with technical requirements and instructions on how to log-in.  The day before the class, I did go to the website, speedtest (provided in my reminder email) to test my internet speed.  It was easy to do and it put me at ease knowing my internet access exceeded the speed requirements.

The day of the class, I just opened the email reminder and clicked on the link for the class. When I arrived on the landing page, I chose to log-in via Facebook and it was fast and seamless. Within less than a minute I was online with Karen.

Any concerns about the technology quickly left me within the first few minutes and I was completely focused on Karen.  The image was clear, I could hear Karen clearly, and she could see and hear me.
The ultimate “thumbs-up” test was that I never had any delay in the video or voice transmission during the class. 
The Class:  Swing Essentials – Tips & Drills for Distance and Consistency
We chatted for a few minutes and I told Karen I had a shoulder injury.  Karen began the class and it was easy to follow along.  Karen started off the class with a warm-up you can do before you play.  I did all the moves along with her and I could ask a question at any time.  But, given Karen’s expertise in teaching, I really did not need to ask too many questions.  It seemed like every time I thought “what should this feel like” Karen would say “you should feel this in your…”  I guess I could say she was reading my mind but I just think she knows her stuff.  When she came to an exercise involving the shoulders she paused and said “Catherine, you probably should not try this one.”
Karen went over some of the common swing issues.  One issue I have had is coming out of my golf stance. Karen explained the role of the hamstrings in maintaining the position.  I am happy to report that I have been doing the strength and stretching exercises she showed us and it has made a big impact on the course!
Karen frequently reminded the class that she can see us so if we were wondering if we were doing an exercise correctly, she could look at us and give us feedback on what we were doing. This is where Karen’s skill at verbal instruction comes into play.  For example, she can’t physically take your hands and place them on the grip for you but she can say move your left had a bit to the right.  That is the unique aspect of this class and what makes it better than a video. Don’t get me wrong watching a video is great but you don’t get feedback.
When I started the class I felt a bit funny standing in my home office doing the exercises while watching Karen on my computer screen but it didn’t take long for me to just focus on what I was doing.
I think a good sign that you are engaged is if the time flies by and that is what it felt like taking this online class with Karen.  I learned a lot and enjoyed the class; and was so pleased with what I learned that I got her iPhone App
Grade for my experience:  A
The class exceeded my expectations.  I don’t think it replaces my face-to-face time with my local golf pro but it is definitely a nice addition to the tools I use and lessons I take to improve my game; especially her insights on off-course exercises based on issues with the swing.  Finally, if you live in a cold climate and want to work on your game in the winter — mark your calendar to take an online class with Karen Palacios-Jansen.
 
 

Women of the Golf Channel

SEE UPDATED POST ON WOMEN OF THE GOLF CHANNEL HERE

The other day I was talking to a gentleman that likes golf and he said “I like that woman on the golf channel. You know, she’s attractive and has a deep voice.”  I said, “The one that does the tournament coverage?”  He said “Yes.”  I replied “That’s Kelly Tilghman.”

There is great female on-air talent at the Golf Channel and I thought it would be fun to give my view on the women of the golf channel.

(1) Kelly Tilghman is the “grande dame” of the Golf Channel.  She has been with the golf channel since the very beginning and according to her bio, “in 2007, she became the first full-time female play-by-play commentator in the history of the PGA Tour.”

I have watched Tilghman for years and like her commentary and she does have a great voice.  She also has great golf credentials — she was on the golf team at Duke and played professionally from 1992 to 1996.  She is also very funny.  She recently was on Morning Drive and was great.  I hope they have her guest host again.

Unfortunately, her humor has gotten her into trouble.  Many will remember Tilghman because she made a remark during a PGA tournament broadcast in 2008 that Rev. Al Sharpton claimed was a racial insult to Tiger Woods.  Tilghman did apologize but that was not enough for Rev. Al Sharpton — he wanted her fired.  On the other hand, Tiger said he did not take offense.  In fact Tiger appears to trust Tilghman (which was evident in 2010 when Tiger selected Tilghman to do his first interview after his personal life scandal.)  And, Tilghman has been an announcer on Tiger’s very popular Video games.

Image of Holly Sonders(2) Holly Sonders is on the Morning Drive show. Her role is basically to do news headlines and setup segments for the main two hosts (Erik Kuselias and Gary Williams.)  She played college golf for Michigan State University.  You can tell from the few segments she has done on golf exercises and the swing that she really is a great golfer.  The golf channel executives must have noticed too because it was just announced she will be on The School of Golf every Wednesday.  She is also quite funny. I wish she had more air time on the morning show.

Image of Winn McMurray(3) Winn McMurray — McMurray is the fashion consultant and writes articles for “Fashion Focus” (a golf channel blog.)  She used to also host “The 19th Hole” but that has a new host (see below). Her big claim to fame is that she won the 2011 Fantasy Golf Challenge.  I’m always happy to see a woman win!

Image of Lauren Thompson(4) Lauren Thompson — Thompson hosts Golf Now, a travel show. And, the morning drive cast have given her the nickname of T3 (because she hosts the Top Ten series and her last name is Thompson — get it, Top Ten Thompson).

Image of Stephanie Sparks(5) Stephanie Sparks —  Most will know Sparks from the Big Break which is a reality show on the Golf Channel.  She also does on-course commentary for the LPGA and Nationwide tour.  Like Tilghman, she played golf at Duke University.  I like Stephanie Sparks on Big Break but you don’t see her on any other shows.

Image of Lara Baldesarra

(6) Lara Baldesarra — The newest member of Golf Channel’s elite women broadcasters.  She just started this year as the host of The 19th Hole.  She will also fill in as a co-host on the Golf Central show.  My first impressions of her on-air style is that she is very animated and I can tell she is Canadian by the way she says words like “about.”  I’m not crazy about the tone of her voice — it is a bit grating to me; but I’m willing to see how she does over time.

Overall I think all of the Golf Channel Women are entertaining and do a great job.  My favorites are based on their on-air personality and how they display their knowledge of the game.  Kelly Tilghman is my favorite and Holly Sonders is fast becoming a close second. I think Sonders has a very promising future with the Golf Channel.

A Tribute to Annika Sorenstam

I think if you ask the average person who is the best female golfer of all time, many would say Annika Sorenstam.  Annika turned pro in 1993 but her career took off in 1995 when she won her first US Women’s Open.

In 2008, Annika retired at the age of 38 from her professional golf career with an astonishing 89 career wins, 72 LPGA tour victories, and 10 major championships.  To put that in perspective; Tiger (now age 36) has 95 worldwide wins, 71 PGA tour victories, and 14 major championships.  In terms of on course success, Annika is the “Tiger Woods” of women’s golf.  However, unlike her male counterpart she has lived her personal life with complete integrity (no scandals for this great golfer).

Annika  was named the 2012 recipient of the Bob Jones award.  This is an honor bestowed upon by the USGA to a person that epitomizes “distinguished sportsmanship in golf.”  Annika still plays a huge role in golf today with her efforts to grow the sport. She is a very busy lady with her foundation, her golf academy, and her involvement in golf course design (she and Jack Nicklaus have submitted a bid to build the golf course for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.)

The tribute video below is lovely because it is a mix of her personal life (her family speaks), the impact she has had on golf, and her focus on the health of children.

Congratulations to Annika!