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Powers making transition from college to pro golf PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 08:25
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File photo. Bowling Green native Caroline Powers follows through on a tee off on hole 18 during the 2013 LPGA Marathon Open at Highland Meadows Golf Course in Sylvania, Ohio on July 18, 2013. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Caroline Powers, a graduate of Bowling Green High School, completed a standout collegiate career at Michigan State last spring.
After finishing school, Powers turned professional in order to gain some experience before attempting to earn her full LPGA membership tour card in December.
She did not make the 72-hole cut at the final stage of the LPGA qualifier. As a result, she is planning on playing a full schedule this year on the Symetra Tour, which is the LPGA futures tour.
''I don't think it's really hit me yet, to be honest. Playing in golf tournaments is what I have always done,'' Powers said about the change from being in college to playing as a professional. ''Somehow it is different, but I can't put my finger on why. It feels different, but it still doesn't feel like my job yet. I think as the years go on, you are probably more attuned to the pressure and expectations that you have. I don't think I quite have those yet, just because it is such a fresh experience.
''I have to use a lot of these things as learning experiences,'' she added ''I have to see what I want my routine to be on a tournament week, and I have to figure when I have to rest. I think I'm pretty close to figuring out how I want things to work.''
Powers started her preparation for the futures tour in Florida this winter.
''It was the first time practicing on my own,'' Powers said. ''I found a coach and swing instructor and we just hit it off. That was really fortunate to find him.''
Matt Mitchell is the coach who has been helping Powers.
''That really got the ball rolling, feeling like I could be ready for the tournaments, and feeling good about my swing again,'' Powers said.
In addition to getting help from Mitchell, Powers was able to find a course at which to play, after having to work on her game for four weeks at a driving range. She's been playing at the University of South Florida in Tampa, while staying with a friend there.
''It was finally good to get on-course practice. I was driving myself nuts on the range the first couple of weeks. I am not really a range player,'' Powers said. ''I needed to get to a course.''
In her first two Symetra Tour events, Powers tied for 35th at the Vista Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. with an even par 216 on rounds of 70-74-72. She tied for 59th with a 6-over-par 150 in the rain-shortened Volvik Championship at Pacific Palms Resort in Industry, Calif. She was to earn some money in both events.
Laura Kueny, who was a senior at MSU when Powers was a freshman, has been helping her adjust to the life of a professional golfer.
''It's good to have an ally,'' Powers said. ''My freshman year she really helped show me how things were done. She has been out here on the Symetra the last few years, and knows the ropes.''
The Symetra Tour has now started its Florida swing with the next four tour events scheduled there.
''I feel good about the way things are going, and am just trying to work on my mental game,'' Powers said. ''I'm excited that I have my car, I'll be driving everywhere, and I'll have all my things with me.
''I'm going to get comfortable as the time goes on, keep making friends and have a good time ... and trying to make a few more dollars,'' she added. ''It's pretty nice to be playing golf as your job.
''I really enjoyed the first two weeks, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.''
In addition to playing in the Symetra events, Powers plans to play in the U.S. Open qualifier in an effort to make the field at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club (N.C.)  in June.
Powers also hopes to receive an invitation to play in the Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania in July. She played in the event last year on a sponsor's exemption. If she doesn't get an exemption, she will play in the Monday qualifier there.
There is also an LPGA event in Grand Rapids, Mich. in August, and Powers will attempt to play there.
''I plan to be at every Symetra tournament. The only one that is up in the air is the one in South Bend (Ind.), because hopefully I will be at Pinehurst for the Open,'' Powers said.
Powers still gets family support, although it's at a distance for the time being.
''I just call home after every round ... and my dad (Buddy, a former hockey coach at Bowling Green State University) keeps my head level,'' she said. Her parents reside in Boston.
Also her older brother John, currently the head men's golf coach at St. Bonaventure, has created a website - www.carolinepowersgolf.com - to allow fans to follow her.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 08:38
 

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