Upton keeping her dream alive
It may be just a small taste, but Lynda Upton’s appetite remains whet enough to keep pursuing her budding professional golf career.
The 1997 Carson High graduate who went on to an outstanding career at the University of Nevada where she graduated in 2001 has tasted just enough success since turning pro in November, 2001. She has played well enough that for one round last week, playing in this week’s U.S. Women’s Open actually looked like a realistic possibility.
She has also played just well enough at the LPGA Qualifying School to keep the dream of making the LPGA Tour alive as well.
Upton was among 27 golfers playing for three spots in the U.S. Women’s Open at last week’s sectional qualifier at the Denver Country Club. Upton advanced to the sectional qualifier last month in a playoff at the local qualifier in Phoenix.
In the one-day, 36-hole sectional qualifier, Upton fired a 77 in the first round and was just four strokes behind the low score of 73.
But Upton struggled to an 83 in the second round, finishing with a 160, 11 strokes back of the 149 score needed to qualify. “I didn’t have a very good day to say the least,” Upton said.
“It wasn’t too bad,” Upton said about her first round. “I had a few holes where I just made a few mistakes.”
As far as the second round, Upton said, “The game just went somewhere else. Both rounds I just didn’t putt very well.”
But Upton said she was still “real happy” to advance to advance to the sectional qualifier. Upton said she will try to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open again next year.
Since she was in the Denver area, Upton also played in the recent Colorado Women’s Open.
She was able to make the cut after two rounds in the three round event and finished 58th out of 133 golfers. “I played all right,” she said. “But I was still plagued by my putter.”
Upton had been playing on the West Coast Ladies Golf Tour before it went under in April. Now that’s all for Upton to do is to work on her game in preparation for the LPGA Qualifying School in September in Palm Springs, Calif. “I just started up a real good practice routine,” she said.
The LPGA qualifier is a four-round event and the top 30 golfers will advance to the last stage of LPGA qualifying in December in Florida. Approximately the top 30 players at the LPGA qualifyier in Florida will make the LPGA Tour.
Upton has been to the LPGA Q school three times and each time it’s been the same result: She has three solid rounds, but one bad round that keeps her from moving on. “I know what it takes to get it done,” she said. “I just haven’t done it, yet.
“It’s just fine tune things. I just need to do some tweaking. I know that I have the game. It’s just really little things right now. I can make it to the top.”
She said much of what she needs to work on is her mental approach and that she needs to improve her short game. “Right now I feel my swing’s pretty good,” she said.
Upton said she didn’t know how long she will continue to pursue her professional career.
“I always wanted to play a professional sport,” she said. “I know I have the talent. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.
I don’t have any regrets for what I’ve done. I’ll go work hard this summer and go to Q school and see what happens from there.”
Carson High graduate Dave Lundquist, who spent some time in the Major Leagues, is now the pitching coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates short season Class A team, the Williamsport (Pa.) Crosscutters in the New York Penn League.
Lundquist, a 1991 CHS graduate, pitched on the Major League level with the Chicago White Sox and the San Diego Padres.