LPGA rookie Brown handles herself like a veteran
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Sara Brown looks like a veteran rather than a rookie. She talks with fans casually and always has time to stop and take a picture or sign autographs for adoring little girls. When someone backs up to take her picture she stops and says, "Oh come on, you have to get in it too," motioning them over with her arm.
But, despite how comfortable she appears, this week's RR Donneley Founders is her first LPGA event.
Being from Tucson, Brown is a crowd favorite. You also can't miss her "loud mouth" brand shorts and beaming smile. Many were first introduced to Sara last year on the TV show "Big Break," where she won viewers over with her spunky personality.
Brown opened with a less-than-stellar 77, but came back in the second round, firing a 1-under 71. Despite not knowing if she would make the cut, Brown was unfazed.
"Who knows where the cut will be at but, it's been very exciting," Brown said. "It's my first event and I've got a lot of support, so it's been great."
Brown's parents, brother and her best friend from college all made the trip from Tucson to cheer her on. Aside from family, many locals came out to offer support.
"Oh my god, it is so great," she gushed.
Brown remembered walking down the 8th fairway where a houseful of people came out on the patio cheering for her.
"It's so surreal and I just try to take it in and enjoy it," she said.
Brown competed for the Stand Up and Play Foundation in the event in which all prize money is going to charity. Anthony Netto, chairman of the organization, designed a wheelchair that allows people to stand up in the chair, so that they can make a swing and hit a shot.
"I say, you know what, whether you're paralyzed or not, everyone should be able to play golf if they want to," Brown said.
Although her first round playing for the charity wasn't quite what she wanted, Brown said she enjoyed the experience.
"I was a little nervous on the first hole, but I nailed my drive, and I was shocked at how far it went," she said.
Brown attributed the uncertainty in her distance control to her new TaylorMade irons. Having just received the irons last week, she claimed she was still getting used to them and as a result was hitting everything a little longer. In her second round, Brown hit several close irons, giving herself more opportunities for birdies.
"Derick (Brown's caddie) and I went out there and just said, 'let's go for it', and I started with a 77, so I had nothing to lose," she said jokingly.
After teeing off on No. 10, she attributed a 25-foot birdie on No. 16 to hyping her up for the next nine. A great up-and-down save on No. 9 secured her finish at one under.
Brown also gives credit to her good luck charm, matching sharpie pens that she uses on her scorecard.
"The color has to match whatever outfit I'm wearing," she said with a smile creeping across her face. "It all has to match."
From brightly colored sharpies to her Easter-egg-colored short shorts, Brown has been revered as a fashion-forward player. And if she doesn't make the cut, Sara said her friend Jordan and she might do some retail therapy at local boutiques.
"It's always a fixer for a bad round, she said slyly.
Although Sara plans to relax and spend time with friends, she still makes time to give back. Should she not make the cut, she plans to help out with the LPGA girls golf club Sunday morning. She'll offer instruction and clinics for the young players, before preparing for her next tournament, the Kia Classic.
"I just take it all in and make note of exactly what I need to work on for next week," she said.
Spoken like a true pro.
-- Kathryn Stafford