It is a very first for a whole lot of them. Those people gamers who ended up privileged plenty of to get a view final November in Naples for remaining Rolex To start with-Time Winners gained an additional bonus, one they will hard cash in following week when they tee off at the Hilton Grand Vacations Match of Champions at Lake Nona Golfing & Country Club in Orlando, Fla.
Gemma Dryburgh just can’t hold out. The 29-12 months-previous Scot won a $4,000 rest room in addition to her first LPGA Tour title at the TOTO Japan Classic. Now, she will try out to incorporate a win stateside to her resume.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff is seeking forward to participating in near house. When she hasn’t dropped her English accent, Ewart Shadoff has lived in Orlando for yrs. Her tearful post-victory job interview at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship made emphasize reels all over the postseason. And her spouse, Adam, a area television sportscaster, has been the starter at the HGV TOC due to the fact its inception.
Jennifer Kupcho and Ashleigh Buhai created their to start with career victories important championships – The Chevron Championship and the AIG Women’s Open up, respectively – and Paula Reto, Maja Stark, Ayaka Furue, and Leona Maguire had us all brushing absent dampness from our cheeks as their life changed without end with these very first LPGA Tour wins.
1 of the gamers most excited to be beginning her time in January is Andrea Lee, a California native on whom a great deal was heaped when she joined the tour. Lee was the No.1-ranked amateur in the planet, the most adorned golfer in Stanford Women’s Golf history during her collegiate career, a two-time Curtis Cup stalwart for the United States facet, and anyone who carried the stress of anticipations early as a pro.
As transpires far more frequently than not, Lee’s transition to skilled golf took some time. The truth that she turned professional in late 2019 and had the COVID-19 calendar year as her introduction didn’t assist. She had two top-10s in 2020, none in 2021.
Entering 2022, Lee battled doubt. She plowed by way of the lows that dangle like a yoke on every player at some stage in their professions. Then, last April, enjoying on the Epson Tour, Lee captured her 1st qualified victory at the Casino Del Sol Golf Typical. She defeat her former Curtis Cup teammate Lucy Li in a playoff.
Five months later on, Lee’s lifetime modified when she captured the AmazingCre Portland Traditional by a shot around Danielle Darquea.
Now, Lee has a contemporary set of ambitions and a terrific mindset moving into 2023.
“I’m really psyched and on the lookout ahead to it,” she said of the Hilton Grand Holidays Match of Champions. “I performed (Lake Nona) when Gainbridge was there in 2021 and I definitely like the golfing training course. It appears various from the other Florida classes I’ve been on. It is not a program exactly where people today are heading to go truly minimal, which will make it a good class to get started off the yr.”
She is also fired up about enjoying with superstars. “I’ve viewed it on Tv the past couple of several years and I think it’s actually amazing that we have this prospect to engage in with these stars that also have some marriage to golfing,” Lee said. “I assume whoever I’m paired up with I’m likely to be a little nervous but also tremendous energized to enjoy with some athletes or Television stars.
“I truly would enjoy to enjoy with Wells Adams. He was on ‘The Bachelor’ a even though back, and now he hosts ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ and is married to Sarah Hyland who is an actress. I really like him mainly because he’s so funny. I observe him on social media, and I asked for him (as my newbie participating in lover). We’ll see if I get him. But normally I’d enjoy to participate in with Brain Baumgartner. I beloved him in ‘The Workplace.’ That was almost certainly a person of my beloved Television demonstrates when I was in higher college and university.”
Soon after her Portland get, Lee ongoing to play properly in 2022, ending runner-up to Lydia Ko at the BMW Ladies Championship in Korea and closing the yr ranked 15th in the Race to the CME Globe.
“In the off year, I was equipped to glance back and be grateful for the yr I’d experienced,” Lee explained. “I would have in no way imagined that I would now be the place I am, especially when I feel back again to the starting of 2022. So, I’m truly happy of myself and I’m definitely motivated to get extra golfing tournaments.
“Being capable to set my schedule and realizing that I’m in everything has been these types of a substantial excess weight off my upper body. The past few of years, I hardly ever got to established my program (early). This will be the to start with 12 months where by I can look forward and say, ‘Okay, I’m heading to engage in the Asian swings, and I’m not going to play this 7 days but will play this other 7 days.’ It is genuinely wonderful to have that force off.
“I’m sensation a ton more at ease staying out on tour, receiving utilised to tour everyday living and knowing what performs ideal for me.
“I’m also seriously satisfied with wherever I am. I’m pretty blessed. I appreciate golf. I really like competing and I’m itching to get again out. I’m in a wonderful place.”
As for 2023 goals, Lee stated, “I’d love to acquire a important championship. The U.S. Women’s Open up is coming to Pebble Seashore. I have my eyes established on that 1. I can not pressure it, naturally. Absolutely everyone wishes to get majors, so I’m likely to keep accomplishing what I’m executing and with any luck , set four excellent rounds collectively.”
She played Pebble Beach in the TaylorMade Invitational right after turning professional, but, shockingly, hardly ever played there though going to school just about the hill in Palo Alto. “We played Cypress Place numerous occasions with Dr. (Condoleezza) Rice, but by no means Pebble,” Lee stated.
That will improve this summer season.
But a big isn’t the only purpose.
“I actually want to make the (U.S.) Soheim Cup crew,” she said. “That’s been a intention of mine considering the fact that I turned pro, and I’m really hoping to make that group.
“Representing your state at any degree is truly amazing. When I played in the Curtis Cup in Eire against Leona (Maguire) and Bronte (Legislation), they smoked us on the very last working day, so actively playing (the Curtis Cup) once again in New York (at Quaker Ridge) was variety of like revenge for us. Every single one particular of us (on the U.S. group) gained our singles matches (the final day).
“Those are some good recollections that I can ideally take to a upcoming Solheim Cup.”
Lofty plans, even for a participant utilized to substantial expectations. 4 yrs in, Lee is aware to be patient. Practically nothing exists in golfing but the up coming shot in entrance of you. That shot will get position up coming Thursday when Lee tees off at Lake Nona, a new winner in a event created exclusively for them.