Story No. 12: Jackie Stoelting Shoots 64 to Secure LPGA Card
Jackie has always been an underdog - until this year. She played Division III college golf at Florida Southern College and then when she turned professional in 2010, she finished 143rd on the Symetra Tour’s Volvik Race for the Card money list.
In 2014, she won the Golf Channel reality show Big Break Florida and then proceeded to be one of the most consistent golfers to finish 3rd on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
The finish to the season was storybook material. The Symetra Tour Championship is about three hours from where Stoelting was born and raised in Vero Beach, Florida so she had the largest gallery all week – parents, grandparents, friends and even the Florida Southern College golf team was around competing in a college event on the other 18-hole course.
Stoelting entered the week seventh on the money list and was not guaranteed a card, but a lot had to go wrong for her to fall short.
On Sunday, she had the round of her life to get into a three-way playoff where she ultimately fell short to Marita Engzelius.
I remember watching her drain a long birdie putt to finish the round to a loud roar from her following. She gave her husband and caddie Travis a hug and then they stood arm-and-arm just long enough for her mom to snap the perfect picture. In the foreground the picture shows the backs of Jackie and Travis and in the background the letters L-P-G-A off in the distance .
It wasn’t a surprise that Stoelting got her card – she earned more money without a win than anybody in the history of the Symetra Tour – but she sure put an exclamation point on her standing.
Stoelting posted seven top 10 finishes and an amazing 12 top 20 results.
In Jackie’s Words…
The whole week of Daytona I was a little nervous. I wasn't fully secure with my standings and I was a little uneasy about that. I knew it would take a lot for me to bump out of the top ten but I just wanted to have a solid finish and solidify my spot in the top 10. I felt like I anticipated for Sunday to come all week. I woke up that morning with a sense of calmness that no matter how I played that day, I was going to get my card. I felt at ease, free, and excited for that day. The course was really wet so I had some long clubs into some of the holes. I remember birding the first two holes with a 3-hybrid and 3-wood. I knew it was going to be a good day starting like that. I think I was 3 under thru 11 and then made a really long putt on 12. I saw a leaderboard on 14 and saw I was only a few back. I then proceeded to birdie 14, 16, 17, and 18. I even hit it in the hazard on 18 and got it up and down for a birdie. It was the perfect ending to an incredible season on the Symetra Tour. I didn't even realize how many under I was for the day until I added it all up. I can't believe I shot the lowest round of my career to clinch my card and move from 7th to 3rd on the money list. I was even more shocked I got in a playoff. I wish I could have won but when you make birdie and the winner makes an eagle, there's not much you can do about it. It was still the best day of my golf career so far!