The 16-year-old shot a four-under 68 and parred the second playoff hole at TPC at Eagle Trace (her home course) to beat Brett Bergeron of LaPlace, La. She's just the second female in history to win on the Minor League Golf Tour (former Futures Tour player Carrie Dykstra won in 2004). Study her swing sequence to see how she generates all her amazing power.
Thompson pocketed $1,100 on Monday, along with a ton of confidence.
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Carter is no stranger to high-level tournaments. Having played in the 2005 U.S. Women's Open and three U.S. Women's Amateurs (2005, 2007, 2009), the Ole Miss all-star recorded a win and five top-10 finishes on the Futures Tour last year after just one season as a professional golfer. And the 24-year-old is hoping for an even smoother transition onto the big stage.
Golf Digest Woman: How did you become interested in golf?
Dori Carter: I grew up playing several sports, like softball and basketball, and I first started playing golf when I was 7 years old. I grew up on Valdosta Country Club, and golf became my summer sport. My dad is really the one who got me interested in it. We always say he taught me the rules, not how to swing or play the game. He's not very good! I began to focus just on golf once I got into high school.
GDW: And why did you decide to play golf for the University of Mississippi? Seems like so many up-and-coming girls are skipping that step.
DC: College just seemed like the next logical option. Playing at Ole Miss is the best thing I ever did. It's where I developed the most; I needed those years to mature and learn a lot about golf course management. I was a student-athlete and golf was my priority, but I wanted to enjoy the entire college experience. So I was in a sorority, I went to football games and I really enjoyed college life. I could've turned pro early but I was happy where I was and I loved representing Ole Miss.
GDW: And how did college golf help your game?
DC: Michele Drinkard, my college coach, changed the way I prepared for tournaments and practiced for them. Specifically, she taught me how to practice and prepare and do all the work beforehand so that when it came to tournament time, I could just have fun and play. Preparing and scheduling is a major commitment for professional golfers, so I'm really glad she made it a priority.
GDW: And before college, who really shaped your game?
DC: Gale Peterson has been my swing coach since I was 15 years old, which is when I started getting serious about golf. She works at Sea Island. Gale is very swing-specific and technical. In high school, she guided me through a major grip change, and that was huge. And for a long time, we've been working on getting a little more loaded on my right side so I can unload through impact more distance. But Gale keeps it really simple. She knows that if it gets too technical, I can lose it.
GDW: What are your swing thoughts on the course?
DC: I'm completely target-focused on the course, so I don't really have any swing thoughts. I have swing thoughts on the practice range, but on the course I can't be thinking, "You need to get loaded." I'm thinking, "There's the target."
Since the time zone at the Honda LPGA Thailand is 12 hours ahead of East Coast time, play will officially begin in six hours, when Kristy McPherson and IK Kim tee off at 8:20am. And the Golf Channel will air delayed coverage of the event on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
With this new season comes new questions: Will the No. 1 spot on the Rolex Rankings change 11 times, like it did last year? Which players will fight for the No. 1 spot this season? (Yani Tseng, the newly minted world No. 1, will be competing in her first event as rankings queen.) And who will be the surprise contender who generates buzz?
Perhaps the biggest question, however, remains the same: Can the LPGA Tour successfully captivate an audience? Ron Sirak proposes a Super Tour to achieve that deed.
Until then, let's focus on play in Thailand. Among the more interesting pairings are Jiyai Shin and Cristie Kerr (11:32am), Paula Creamer and Yani Tseng (11:40am), Ai Miyazato and Suzann Pettersen (11:48am), and Michelle Wie and Na Yeon Choi (12:20am).
Here's to kicking off the season in thrilling fashion.
(Follow me on Twitter at @AshleyKMayo)
Technical fabrics have undoubtedly changed the face of workout gear, but not everyone enjoys how tight and clingy they can be. Enter, Under Armour's new line of "Charged Cotton" workout clothes.
These items mix the comfort of cotton and the science of technical fabrics. They dry five times faster than regular cotton, and they wick away moisture just as effectively as Under Armour's synthetic fabrics. The secret to the material's success lies in the yarn. Since it's composed of alternating hydrophilic (moisture loving) and hydrophobic (moisture hating) cotton threads, moisture spreads quicker across the surface area of the fabric, helping it dry faster.
The new line, which includes eight styles for women ($25-40), will be available in early March, just in time to start hitting the gym with the 2011 golf season in mind.
(Photo provided by Under Armour)
(Follow me on Twitter at @AshleyKMayo)
O'Neal snapped the above image and posted it on her Facebook page on Tuesday. Sure, O'Neal is technically posing in a Cobra advertisement (the 29-year-old signed with Cobra-Puma during the PGA Merchandise Show in January), but the image is undeniably captivating. And Cobra admits it. Splashed across the ad, Cobra writes, "We could talk about our new elliptical face design, but we don't think you're really listening right now."
Brown, the two-time Big Break contestant who played on the Futures Tour for three years, has finally broken through to the LPGA Tour. The 25-year-old is one of a few young golfers to graduate college, and the fully-exempt rookie spoke with us about climbing out of a slump, playing without swing thoughts and living with a man who is her boyfriend, instructor and caddie, all in one.
Golf Digest Woman: You decided to play four seasons of college golf, which is something most young female golfers opt out of. How will that experience help you this year?
Sara Brown: There's a huge misconception that college doesn't prepare golfers for being out on the road. But time management is key in college--I had to balance school with having friends and traveling to golf tournaments--and it'll be key out on tour. In that sense, college helped a lot.
GDW: And three years on the Futures Tour must have been a grind. How did you stick with it?
SB: Believe it or not, I put my clubs away after the summer of 2009. I just wanted to quit. I wasn't having fun. And I totally want to be that person who plays golf everyday, even when I'm 80. I want to be out on the course with my husband. And I just didn't see myself doing that with all the pressure of competitive golf. I called it the "sophomore slump."
GDW: So how did you climb out of the slump?
SB: I had a great support system with my family and my boyfriend, Derek Radley. They really helped me realize why I love golf so much. Especially Derek, a Class A PGA Professional who came along and helped me with my swing and helped me balance my personal life. Before meeting him, I had put a lot of pressure on myself to play good. And when I didn't win and transition to the LPGA Tour after my first year on the Futures Tour, I got down and depressed. But now, with Derek's help, I've been happy. Whether I shoot 76 or 66, I'm still happy. People can't tell the difference, because I've found the love of golf again and it makes me play better.
GDW: Tell us a little bit more about that support system. Who will be your caddie this year?
SB: Actually, Derek (27 years old) is going to be my full-time caddie. And he's also my coach. So Derek is my golf instructor, caddie and boyfriend all rolled into one.
GDW: Will it be difficult to separate your boyfriend from your caddie/instructor?
SB: We don't mix business with pleasure. He's my boyfriend first, until we step on the golf course, then he's business. We're good at separating the two. And Derek knows golf. He won three times in college, but never wanted to play on tour. Instead, he wanted to help people get on the tour. His dream was always to be inside the ropes and coach people. So now he'll get to caddie and coach at the same time.
GDW: How did you guys meet?
SB: We first met six years ago at a golf course in Michigan, but we saw each other again two winters ago in Florida. He remembered meeting me in Michigan more than I remembered meeting him. And I talked with a mutual friend of ours, who had mentioned that he had gone through a lot of drama in the past year--he had been married and divorced. So I was on the driving range when he drove up in a golf cart. I immediately said, "Hey, were you married?" He almost had a heart attack. Then I said, "Did she play golf?" He said no. I pulled a tee out of my hair, stuck it in the ground, blasted a drive down the range and said, "Maybe your next one should." So if anyone says he picked me up, they're wrong. I totally picked him up!
Amanda Carlson-Phillips, Vice President of Nutrition and Research at Athletes' Performance and Core Performance, has the answer:
Female golfers don't necessarily need different foods and drinks from our male counterparts, but since we tend to overlook protein more than they do, we don't get the complete nutrition that our body and mind need to perform on the course. The key to staying energized and focused on the course is to make sure your snacks combine high-fiber carbohydrates, lean protein and a healthy fat. An example of snacks that provide long-lasting energy? A small handful of walnuts combined with an apple, or half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Be sure to consume two of these snacks per round, one each nine.
Brittany Lincicome: The Competitor
Playing a few mini tour events has helped me keep my game sharp. We have so many months off between the last event of the season and the first, so if I don't stay competitive I'll be way too nervous on the first tee in Thailand. I need to stay competitive to get ready for that first event and get back into game mode. And I hit it long enough, so distance hasn't prevented me from playing good.
Also, I don't like to practice, so I'd much rather play. Most of the time, I'll play 18 holes with my buddies, and when I do, I always play the back tees.
Yardage doesn't bother me. I'd rather be on the course where I'm going to be playing than on the practice green and driving range. But when I do practice, I've been putting a little bit more than I have in the past.
During the off-season, I found a new friend who plays in the Hooters tour events. I've never had anybody to practice with, so it's been pretty fun and productive off-season. Am I interested in dating him? No! That might be selfish on my end because he's a good-looking guy, but I want to keep it business. I'm getting a lot out of having him as a practice partner.