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From BG to the LPGA (06-20-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 20 June 2013 09:38
Powers_Caroline
Caroline Powers
Bowling Green's Caroline Powers has made the transition from the Big Ten women's golfer of the year to playing the game she loves professionally.
The 22-year-old will be competing as a professional next week at the U.S. Women's Open Championship in Southampton, N.Y. Play begins a week from today at Sebonack Golf Club.
"I don't think it has really set in yet that this in my job now, because it is what I have always done," Powers said.
She qualified for the event as an amateur, but she will compete as a professional. She earned the bid to the Open by winning a qualifying tournament in Wheaton, Ill. last month. She shot a 1-under-par with a score of 143 (71-72).
"Golf is a tricky game. Some days, everything is easy, and some days, it's hard. For whatever reason, that was an easy day and I was pretty much hitting the fairway on every hole," Powers said. "I was just really dialed in."
Her brother, John, who played golf at Bowling Green State University, caddied for her at the competition.
"I was so excited, but my brother was even more excited," she laughed.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet, but once I get there and start playing it will."
Her dad, former BGSU hockey coach Buddy Powers and now an assistant hockey coach at Boston University, will be her caddie at the Open.
Her mom, Lindy, is a former pro at Forrest Creason Golf Course.
While qualifying for the Open is an accomplishment in itself, Powers isn't satisfied with just that.
"I know this will be my first LPGA event, but to be honest, I expect to go in there to contend and not just make the cut," she said.
"I know if I play my best, I can play with anyone," she said.
Prior to competition, Powers will play some practice rounds on the course. It is a course she hasn't played up until this point. She has also been practicing at her alma mater, Michigan State University, where the practice facility has the same grass.
Powers tried to qualify for the Open two years ago, but was unsuccessful.
"I don't think I was mentally prepared at that point," she admitted.
Powers just graduated from MSU with a degree in elementary education. There, she helped the Spartans to a program-best ninth-place team finish at the NCAA Championship.
Individually, she also had a storied career at MSU, breaking records, being named the Big Ten's 2013 women's golfer of the year and a three-time All-Big Ten First Team selection and a second-team Academic All-American this year.
Since graduation, she had upgraded to professional status - a goal she has had since she was young.
She played in her first tournament as a pro last weekend in the Decatur-Forsyth Classic in Decatur, Ill. The event was part of the Symetra Tour. Powers tied for 10th at the event and shot a 211 (71-71-69).She earned  $1,725 in prize money, according to the event's website.
This weekend, she will head to South Bend, Ind. for the Four Winds Invitational. The event has a purse of $150,000 and is also part of the Symetra Tour, which markets itself as a "Road to the LPGA."
Powers will also have the opportunity to play in the Marathon Classic, formerly the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, at Highland Meadows Golf Club July 15-21.
Since she is not on the LPGA tour, but was given a sponsor exemption for the event.
"I have wanted to play in that tournament since I was a little girl. I used to go up and watch every year. They were my inspiration," Powers said. "I used to tell my dad, 'Some day, I am going to be out there.'"
Next month, she will be, in front of a her home crowd.
As a professional, she has clearly defined career goals.
"My ultimate goal is to be a member of the Solheim Cup team," she said.
The Solheim Cup is the women's version of the Ryder Cup, which is a biennial competition matching the best pro golfers from the U.S. against Europe.
Her second goal, she said "is to be part of the LPGA and to be contending week in and week out."
Her third and fourth goals go off the golf course a bit.
She wants to be on "Dancing With The Stars."
"If I am on Dancing With The Stars, my golf game is going well," she laughed.
Lastly, she wants to throw out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game.
 

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