I want to congratulate Jean Reynolds for her first professional victory and taking a major step toward her dream of being an LPGA Tour winner.¬† She is a talented, hard-working player who reached a career milestone.¬† One of her keys was her calmness this week that came from the mental toughness training we have built into her practice sessions.¬† We used the same process that I outline in the¬†New Rules of Core Mental Toughness.¬† Below I copied the press release that was on¬†http://www.futurestour.com/¬†this morning.
Reynolds Wins Season Opener In Three-Hole Playoff
WINTER HAVEN, Fla.,¬†March 22, 2009 – It took three extra holes, but Jean Reynolds captured the Duramed FUTURES Tour’s season opener today. The 5-foot-2 Georgia Peach outlasted Song Yi Choi to win the inaugural $100,000 Florida’s Natural Growers Charity Classic and earn her first professional title.
Reynolds carded rounds of 69-73-70 to win at 212 (-4), edging Choi after three return visits to the 18th¬†tee for a playoff at Lake Region Yacht and Country Club. Choi carded rounds of 64-73-75 to finish second.
“I knew this day was coming, but it feels so awesome,” said Reynolds, 24, of Newnan, Ga. “It’s been a really bizarre week because I stayed so calm.”
But calm is what wins golf tournaments. And calm is what Reynolds remained even when Choi, last year’s sixth-ranked player — also intent on earning her first professional title – pushed hard to wrestle the orange-filled crystal trophy out of Reynolds’ hands.
Choi held a one-shot lead going into the final hole. She had bogeyed the 16th, but bounced back with a birdie on No. 17, so the South Korean was ready to close the deal. But throughout the day, stiff winds had kicked up the whitecaps on the surrounding Lake Hamilton and rain clouds had rolled in and out in the late afternoon. Choi held an 8-iron in her hands on a 110-yard approach shot on the par-5 18th¬†hole with wind directly in her face. Seconds later, she watched as that shot fell short and found the water hazard bordering the green.
“It was not a good shot,” said Choi of Seoul, South Korea, who admittedly struggled in the wind and hit only 13 greens and nine fairways in regulation. “I was so sad.”
Meanwhile, Reynolds was not watching the drama unfold, although she knew there could be more golf to play.
“I was just chilling by the practice green and I was fixin’ to put on my tennis shoes, but then the rules official came and got me and I knew there was more golf to play,” said Reynolds, who played college golf at the University of Georgia.
Nicole Hage of Coral Springs, Fla., also was making a run for her first professional win and like Choi, had birdied the par-3 17th¬†hole to tie Reynolds at four under with one hole to play. But on the 18th, Hage was forced to take an unplayable lie from the bushes for a one-shot penalty, and then she requested a free drop from a dangerous situation (fire ants) on her second shot. When she hit the final green, the second-year pro faced a 10-foot birdie putt from above the hole. She left it short to bogey the last.
“Am I ever going to win?” shouted an exasperated Hage as she left the scoring tent in a huff and made a beeline to her car.
Perhaps that was the same question in the minds of both Choi and Reynolds, as they replayed the 18th¬†hole three times to determine the victor.
The two matched pars on the first playoff hole. Choi two-putted for par from 36 feet behind the cup, while Reynolds got up and down for par from a back bunker to 3¬Ĺ feet. On the second trip, Choi’s approach landed within 10 feet, but she missed making birdie on the high side. Reynolds’ 90-yard approach landed 25 feet from the hole and she two-putted for par.
Finally, on the third extra hole down the 447-yard 18th¬†hole, Choi again landed on the back fringe, 35 feet from the hole. She burned the right edge and rolled three feet past for her tap-in par. Reynolds stroked a three-quarter-swing pitching wedge 88 yards from the right rough to three feet, and then tapped in for the win.
“I’m upset, but it’s OK,” said Choi, a 2009 LPGA Tour member who is flying to Phoenix for Tuesday’s LPGA qualifying round. “I had a chance.”
And so did Reynolds, the pint-sized, sweet-talking Southern woman who made fellow competitor Samantha Richdale’s caddie, Paulie Maggiore, tell her he was going to take her in for testing when she pounded 260-yard drives all day. When Reynolds got in the playoff, Maggiore volunteered to carry her bag.
“The girl has a ton of heart and she was very focused,” said Maggiore. “She showed a lot of poise.”
Reynolds earned $14,000 for her win and a Bulova watch, but more importantly, she shot to the top of the Tour’s season money list in that infamous 17-tournament race for the 10 LPGA cards offered for 2010. It was a formidable showing for the player who quit the University of Georgia team to “enjoy college and study abroad.”
But as much fun as she had in college, she always knew she had it in her to compete. And when she turned pro and qualified for the 2008 Duramed FUTURES Tour, she believed she would be successful.
“My coach [Charlie King] calls what I’m doing now the ‚Äėcollege experience’ I never really got,” said Reynolds. “Maybe so, but I came out here with the intention to win.”
Ashley Prange of Noblesville, Ind., and former NCAA champion Dewi Claire Schreefel of The Netherlands matched final-round scores of three-under-par 69 to rocket up the leaderboard in today’s final round. Prange moved from a tie for eighth into a tie for third at 213 (-3) with Hage (75), while Schreefel jumped from a tie for 21st¬†into a tie for fifth with Christine Song (70) of Fullerton, Calif., and Lisa Meldrum (73) of Montreal, Quebec at 215 (-1).