Conrad, a rising-senior at Troy University, is undecided whether she may want to play professional golf, and qualifying for one of the country’s premier golf events may help point her in the right direction.
“Any USGA event is an honor to play in,” Conrad said. “And for those girls trying to decide whether they want to play professional golf, it gives us a chance to make a strong showing for ourselves.”
Pinetree, a par-72, 6,303-yard layout, is playing host to one of 18 qualifying sites nationwide for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, which will be held at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y., Aug. 4-10. There are 10 qualifying positions and two alternate spots available among the expected 102 players competing over 18 holes.
Conrad, who won the 2011 Class AAAAA state championship and was a two-time all-state selection, said the has had an opportunity to play a few practice rounds at Pinetree and she said the tournament is likely to be won on and around the greens.
“The course is pretty much what you see is what you get,” she said. “But the greens are rolling pretty fast. They are probably at 11 or 12 (on the stimpmeter) and they are tricky.”
Several other local golfers are expected to compete in today’s qualifier, including Colleen Panosian, Ines Lescudier and Kaew Preamchuen.
Panosian, a former Whitefield Academy standout and rising junior at Florida Southern, will be vying for one of the qualifying spots. A two-time individual region champion, and the first boy or girl golfer in Wolfpack history to win a region title, Panosian also led her team to two region championships during her tenure. She appeared in 10 tournaments for Florida Southern last season, tying for 22nd at 11-over par at the Saint Leo Invitational in October, and owned the third-lowest stroke average on the team at 80.54.
Lescudier, a native of France, is a rising senior at Kennesaw State. A member of the Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholars Team, she was the Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year in 2012-13 and returned this past season to post the second lowest stroke average for the Owls at 74.53 over 30 rounds of golf.
Lescudier was the lone golfer to win a tournament for Kennesaw State last season, claiming the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational in March. She had a hole-in-one on the 14th hole of her third round at the Lady Paladin Invitational.
Preamchuen, a native of Thailand, is a rising senior at Kennesaw State. The 2014 A-Sun Women’s Golfer of the Year, Preamchuen recently finished in a tie for 18th at the Top 60 Women’s Classic held at Rivermont Country Club in Johns Creek June 24-25. She paced the Owls with a 73.54 stroke average over 33 rounds and was Kennesaw State’s top finisher in five of the 11 tournaments in which the team competed. Her best individual finish was third place at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship.
One other local golfer scheduled to compete was former Walton standout Abbey Williams. An incoming freshman at Florida Southern, Williams won the 2014 Region 5AAAAAA title and led the Lady Raiders with a 75.4 stroke average. A member of three all-state teams, Williams will be unable to participate in today’s qualifier because of an injury to her right hand.
“I dropped out of the tournament because I may have torn a ligament in my right hand,” Williams said. “I was playing six weeks ago with a friend of mine and hit the ball off the tee and felt a pull.
“It hurt, so I took two weeks off. I played again, but still felt some pain so I went in and saw a doctor. I have a MRI scheduled (today). I have to look out for my college team, so I have to shut down and get this fixed.”
Williams said she was looking forward to the tournament and an opportunity to play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, but she understands her health needs to be her priority.
Also expected to play today are rising Etowah seniors Tyler Dawson and Melanie Talbott.