Tubert matures during time on tour
ROGERS — Emily Tubert is still getting used to her new life on the LPGA Tour, including all of the mundane activities pros deal with on a daily basis.
“People don’t realize we’re in charge of our own airfare, rental cars, where we’re staying, just the day-to-day logistics of how we’re getting to our next place,” Tubert said. “There’s definitely a learning curve.”
But even with the new challenges the Tour brings, it’s been worth it to live out a lifelong goal, she said.
“It’s been super cool,” Tubert said. “This is every little kid’s dream, every college kid’s dream, heck, every 50-year-old man’s dream. It’s easy to get caught up in the struggles and what’s going on, but it’s important to take a step back sometimes and realize this is super cool.”
The California native played on the amateur Symetra Tour for two years after she graduated from the University of Arkansas. She appreciated her time as an amateur because she could work on some weaker areas of her game before she reached the Tour, she said.
“It’s a safer place to struggle, that’s for sure,” Tubert said. “For me, it was a blessing to not get status right away because there was some stuff I needed to work through and figure out. Every time you make a jump from one level to the next, there’s things to learn.”
She has already had to learn how to handle difficult situations in order for her to succeed at the next level, like knowing when something’s not working. In Tubert’s case, what wasn’t working was her coach.
“Their schedules weren’t rolling together, and she needed someone who was going to see her do her thing,” Tubert’s caddie, Michelle Simpson, said. “She needed someone who would come out, and that’s a decision you have to make as a professional.”
Two nights before the tournament began, Tubert made the call to let him go. “It was just time for a change,” Tubert said. “I appreciate everything he’s done for me, but I didn’t think it was working out anymore.”
Simpson, an 11-year veteran in the golf world, applauded the young player on her choice.
“She’s trying to make the right decisions, and it’ll turn out for the best,” Simpson said.
Even with the setback of not having a coach, Tubert said she thinks her experience playing at Pinnacle Country Club will give her confidence going forward at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
“As a rookie, one of the biggest things is that every week you’re at a new course, at a new place and trying to figure things out,” she said. “To come back to Arkansas and play on a course I’ve played 20-30 times makes me feel like a seasoned veteran.”
Reid’s ace highlights
strong first day
Mel Reid’s hole-in-one on the No. 11 hole capped off an incredible 11-hole stretch for the LPGA rookie. She birdied six times, with five coming on the front nine, to end the first day of the tournament tied for second at 6-under-par 71.
“I like to go deep,” Reid said. “As soon as I get on a birdie run, I’m not one of those players who gets a little bit scared. I keep trying to make birdies.”
Reid, currently No. 99 in the world golf rankings, tied her best-round score since the beginning of the year when she shot 6-under in the final round of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. She tied for 13th at the event, which has been her best finish this season so far.
She said she was on target for what she wanted to shoot this weekend but acknowledged she’s going to have adjust parts of her game to better manage the course.
“I want a good result; I came here with a goal set number-wise,” Reid said. “I’m just going to get to that number and see what happens. This course does not massively suit my eye; I like to hit drivers everywhere and I think I only hit three today. That’s just another test for me.”
High number of golfers
finish five below par
Eight golfers finished the first round of the tournament with a score of at least 5-under-par 71 to lead the field. Sung Hyun Park leads by 2 strokes over Reid and Ally McDonald, who finished the day 6 strokes under par.
Five players are tied for fourth with a score of 5-under, including 2017 Solheim Cup captain Julie Inkster and No. 18-ranked Stacy Lewis. Moriya Jutanugarn, the older sister of the world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, also is one of the five, along with Felicity Johnson and Katherine Kirk to round out the group.
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