|Powers ready to take next step (10-22-13)|
|Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 22 October 2013 09:22|
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Being in her comfort zone is helping Caroline Powers prepare for the next step in her professional golf career.
A graduate of Bowling Green High School, and Michigan State University, Powers is in East Lansing, Mich. getting ready for a return trip to Florida to play in the final stage of the LPGA Tour Qualifying School. The final stage is Dec. 4-8 at the LPGA International Golf Course in Daytona Beach, Fla.
''It's so easy to practice up here. Everybody that I need, and all my friends are here,'' Powers said in a telephone interview. ''I've been really, really happy to stay here in East Lansing, because it's one of my favorite places. It worked out real well; the fall has been so nice, up to this point. There is no place else I wanted to be this fall.
''I tried to play against some of my friends up here, that are done with school, just to try to make the six-foot putt meaningful, rather than I just hope I can make it,'' Powers added.
Powers advanced to the final stage after finishing in a tie for 18th in Stage II of the qualifying process earlier this month.
''I wasn't nervous about the actual tournament. I was more nervous about the fact that I hadn't competed in two months,'' Powers said. ''Usually your first tournament back after not playing in a while, isn't something of such importance.''
In the four rounds of Stage II, Powers shot 74-70-71-71, to finish at 2-under-par 286. The top 80 players advanced to Stage III.
Even though her scores were consistent over the four rounds, Powers said every day was quite different.
Each day featured ups and downs, including problems with her driver during the middle two rounds. In the third round, Powers had seven birdies, but was only 1-under-par.
On the final day, she had two birdies and a bogey and made par on each of her last nine holes.
''The last day was probably the easiest round. I was just ho-humming along ... I was on cruise control,'' Powers said.
''The whole week I had a 15-foot circle around the pin, that I found myself in more often than not,'' she added. ''That's usually pretty good when you can drop a couple of those putts.''
She plans to head south next month and spend some time with her sister, Barbara, in Knoxville, Tenn.
Then it's on to Florida, she plans to ''gypsy around'' while getting ready for the final stage.
While the final number of full LPGA membership tour cards has not been determined, Powers said typically the top 20 from Stage III get full membership, the next 20 are conditional members, and the rest of the field who made the cut will play on the Symetra Tour, which is the LPGA futures tour. Powers played in two Symetra events this summer.
''This is what we've been working for, for the chance to play in the LPGA,'' Powers said. ''Do I want to qualify? Absolutely. The thing that I'm not that nervous about, is that either way I'm going to be playing (professional) golf next summer. I'm going to be competing; I'm going to be playing with some great players.
''The worst case scenario is that I'll be playing on the Symetra Tour, which isn't so bad,'' she added. ''It's not where you want to be forever, but there is no real downside.''
Powers has some experience at LPGA International Golf Course, which features two 18-hole venues. She played there in the NCAA regionals during her sophomore year at Michigan State where she qualified for nationals.
There will be family support at Stage III as older brother John will caddy for Caroline, and Lindy Powers, Caroline's mother, will also be there.
She is also planning to gain more experience by playing in a three-day SunCoast Ladies Series tournament on each course. The Nov. 20-22 tournament is on the Legends course and the Nov. 24-26 tournament is on the Champions course.
''I think I'm going to play in those, just to get some competitive rounds in, and to get used to the courses more,'' Powers said. ''I'm looking forward to getting some more competitive practice.''
Powers plans to work on her short game around the greens while in Florida, because the grass there is different than the grass in Michigan.
''We'll get lots of good practice in, and be ready to rock and roll,'' Powers said.
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