WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Maddie McCrary is her name and lassoing birdies is her game.
The former Oklahoma State Cowgirl is a 2018 rookie on both the LPGA Tour and Symetra Tour.
A native of Wylie, Texas, McCrary tested the waters at the Final Stage of the LGPA Qualifying Tournament in December. She made the cut and shot even par over the five rounds, good enough to tie for 30th. Then came the decision—give up her final semester of collegiate eligibility and turn pro, or return to school and join the Symetra Tour in the summer.
“It was really tough, having someone come up to you right after the green like, ‘Hey, what do you want to do?’ When you don’t have full status, it was kind of a tough decision,” said McCrary. “I knew I wanted to play professional golf one day. I had to call my coach right after, saying, ‘Hey, I’m turning professional.’ She was really excited for me so it made that decision a little bit easier.”
Besides her teammates and coaches, what will McCrary miss most about Stillwater?
“Eskimo Joe’s,” McCrary said laughingly. “Really good cheese fries.”
No stranger to the LPGA, in 2015 and 2017 McCrary competed in the Volunteers of America Shootout, just outside of Dallas. She also has Symetra Tour experience, having played in the 2016 Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic.
However, it’s still a big leap from college to pro.
“It’s a difficult transition, just playing from amateur golf to professional golf and doing things on my own,” said McCrary. “Kind of figuring out what I need to do, a gameplan for a week of golf. What do I want to do starting Monday through Friday, and stuff like that. So just kind of preparing for that.”
There’s no doubt the three-time All-Big 12 performer has the skill set to succeed. Don’t mistake her soft, charming personality, though. There’s a competitor inside who will do all it takes to win.
“I got a new driver. Its been so much fun to hit that, the G400,” McCrary said. “I’ve been really working hard on my short game because I know the girls on the LPGA, their short game is just so fine. Tune-up those things and we’ll get there.”
When McCrary tees it up tomorrow off No. 10 in the first round of the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic at the Country Club of Winter Haven, it will be her first-ever tournament as a professional. Nerves may take over for a short time, but they’ll fade, and her goals will remain the same—win a tournament at any level and always be in contention.
“I think a little bit of both. Excited and nervous,” said McCrary. “But, you know, it’s a different chapter in my life and I’m excited to play professional golf.”