Future LPGA stars invade Beaver Meadow
CONCORD — Kim Kaufman of Clara, S.D., and Lisanne Schmidt of Grantham tee it up just under an hour apart in the 10th Northeast Delta Dental International at Beaver Meadow Golf Course Friday afternoon.
They’ll attack the municipal layout along with 142 other talented young women golfers in the Symetra tour event — they call it the Road to the LPGA – but they’ll approach it from slightly different angles.
Kaufman is looking for her second career win in her fifth professional tournament and wants to solidify her spot in the all-important Top 10 on the Symetra earnings list.
Schmidt, an amateur who is eyeing the state tournament at Nashua County Club in a couple of weeks, looks forward to watching and competing alongside Kaufman and her rival pros.
“I really just want to enjoy the experience,” said Schmidt, 24. “My goal is to make the cut and enjoy myself and soak in all the experiences. . . . These are some of the best female golfers in the world. I’m not going to win. I know I’m not going to win. Being a pro is such a huge commitment. You have to be on your absolute best game at all times. It’s tough to go pro.”
Kaufman has been making it look easy.
“It sounds easy, right,” she said with a laugh. “Fortunately, it was a great start for me. It does seem crazy when I look back and think that in my third start I won. I won’t complain. I’ll take it. But there are six more events and now I have to play well and get that card.”
It’s all about the card on the Symetra tour.
The Top 10 money winners at the end of the season earn their LPGA playing card for next season.
Kaufman, who graduated from Texas Tech University in May, vaulted into the No. 9 spot with a come-from-behind playoff win two events ago on June 30 in Harris, Mich.
She and Alena Sharp, who is just ahead of her at No. 8, have played in only four of the tour’s nine events thus far. All the others in the top 20 have played in at least six events and most of them have been in eight or nine.
“It definitely changed my outlook,” Kaufman said. “When you were 60th on the list, you’d just think about having a good week. Now, you don’t want to think differently, but it’s hard not to think about the money list, about that race. That’s a little bit of a struggle, but I think I’m doing OK with it.”
Kaufman tied for 10th in her first event, tied for 16th in her next and then drilled birdie putts of 22 feet and 18 feet on the last two holes for a Sunday-best 68 to force a playoff in Michigan. She won the playoff, and a check for $17,250 that makes up a huge portion of her $20,986 in earnings, with a par.
Schmidt played at Eastern Kentucky and graduated just over a year ago. She coaches the golf team at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden and works at Eastman Golf Links.
She qualified her way into the Northeast Delta Dental tournament this year. She played in the tournament in 2007 on a sponsor’s exemption after graduating from Lebanon High School and missed the cut.
Sue Kim leads the money list at $33,693 and the rest of the top five are Cydney Clanton at $30,331, Jaclyn Sweeney at $29,550, Laura Kueny at $27,915 and Melissa Eaton at $24,676. ...
Nine different golfers have won the nine Symetra events this year. ... The field will be cut to the top 70 and ties after 36 holes of the three-day tournament. ... Kaufman tees off at 12:50 this afternoon and Schmidt at 1:40.