Leslie Cloots (Antwerp, Belgium) made four birdies and just one bogey to post her lowest round since turning professional on Thursday at the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic. She is 3-under, 69 and in a tie for fifth as of midday on Thursday.
She was in the first group out and was eating lunch as play was suspended at 12:28 p.m.
"I was actually on the range this morning and wasn’t doing great,” said Cloots. “But I started out well with a great drive on the first hole and made a birdie on the third so it was really solid golf today. I hit 15 greens so I am really pleased with that. My putting was going well too. I've been struggling for the last couple weeks, so it’s nice to see this result."
Cloots, who tied for fifth at the ACC Championships in 2016 while at North Carolina, has missed the cut in each of her six starts and has written candidly on her personal blog about the transition from college golf to professional golf. In a recent blog post, which can be found at http://lesliecloots.com, she reflected on three things she has learned in her first month.
“I have been struggling since I came out here,” said Cloots. "This is my job now so it is especially tough when you are not playing well, I want to be proud of my work.”
Cloots may have received a jolt of good fortune from her father, Ronny, who flew in from Belgium on Wednesday to caddy for her this weekend in Rochester.
"I’m playing back to how I know I can play,” said Cloots. "It was really relaxing with my dad. It was really cool to have him here. It was his first professional event he has been to. He’s a laid back guy and always has my back.”
The father-daughter duo also has plans to visit Niagara Falls after the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic.
One of Cloots’ friends is fellow Belgium golfer Laura Gonzalez Escallon, who graduated from the Symetra Tour to the LPGA in 2016. Gonzalez Escallon is having a strong first season on the LPGA. She has two top 10 finishes and ranks a very respectable 54th on the money list.
Cloots recently went to reconnect with her old friend at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. They had lunch and Laura even gave Leslie a tour.
"I can call her anytime and she’s definitely in my inner circle,” said Cloots. "I’ve known her for a very long time. I played two years with her on the national team. She is definitely a great person to lean on. I really respect her for the stuff she has done because she has been out here (in the United States) alone.”