EMILY COLLINS MAKES HOLE-IN-ONE ON #8
Emily Collins (Colleyville, Tx.) made a hole-in-one on hole eight during the pro-am on Wednesday at Atlanta National Golf Club. She made an eagle on the following hole so it was a good day for Team Collins.
“It is an island green and the pin was tucked in the back right so it was playing long,” explained Collins. “I pured a cut 5-iron and it took one hop and went in. It was pretty sweet. We didn’t know if it went over so we didn’t celebrate until we got to the green.”
Collins’ caddy, Mary Narzisi, jokingly made a comment as she struck the ball that if it goes in they’d quit.
“We obviously didn’t quit, but it was funny and my team was really happy,” said Collins. “It was my third hole-in-one and I actually had one last year in the pro-am in Battle Creek (FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship).”
THE HORSE ACCIDENT THAT LED CANGREJO TO GOLF
Alejandra Cangrejo (Bogota, Colombia) loved horses growing up. She would bring carrots and sugar from her house to feed horses at the country club they were members.
When she was six, she was taking a class she described as “gymnastics on a horse” and was late one day and had to ride the “angry horse” that nobody else wanted named Pelusa. She was thrown off the horse and had a really bad fracture on her right elbow and two fractures in her wrist. She was rushed to the hospital and was in a cast for over a month. When doctors removed the cast, her right hand was immobile because there was nerve damage.
“I couldn’t move my hand for like nine months and I was in intense physical therapy,” said Cangrejo. “When I started to move my fingers, doctors wanted me to do everything I could to stimulate my hands.”
Doctors advised her parents to put her in as many sports as possible where she’d be forced to move her arms and hands so she often went from tennis class to squash to swimming and arts & crafts at the country club.
“My mom urged me to try golf but I told her that ‘golf is boring and for old people’,” recalled Cangrejo. “Mom kept telling me that I need to try it because the doctors thought it would help.”
Her parents signed her up for the Junior World Qualifier and she actually ended up making it at seven years old. They booked a trip to San Diego and went to the tournament and with little experience, she finished 11th.
“That was only one year after I started so my golf teacher sat down with my parents and told them that I have talent and they should really support me,” said Cangrejo. “They told my parents to buy me nice clubs and that is how it all started.”
As a side note, Cangrejo has never been back on a horse.
“Not even close,” said Cangrejo emphatically. “That was a very angry horse so I’m afraid now that I will be attacked.”
Cangrejo is one of two players from Colombia that plays consistently on the Symetra Tour with the other being Paola Moreno.
When she was 12, she told her mom, Luz, that she wanted to one day play professional golf.
“I was so sure that I didn’t want a desk job and wanted to play professional golf,” said Cangrejo. “Since then, my parents have been so supportive and they took me to every tournament I could go to.”
There was a tremendous amount of sacrifice. Her school was 45 minutes from her house and from school to her home course was an hour and 15 minutes and from the course to her home was an hour. Every Wednesday-Friday, her mom would pick her up from school at 1 p.m. and take her to the course. By the time practice was done, they wouldn’t get home until around 8 p.m.
Luz had some flexibility in her schedule as she was a judge and would schedule hearings around golf.
Cangrejo started representing Colombia in tournaments when she was nine or ten and her mom would of course accompany her.
Her mom is still travelling with her from time-to-time on the Symetra Tour. She retired in 2008 in order to travel with Cangrejo even more.
Cangrejo had an incredibly successful junior career. She was named a 2009 First Team Rolex Junior All-America as she placed second at the South-American Amateur Championship and third at the U.S. Girls Junior Championship. She won eight tournaments in 2008 including the Junior National Golf Championship. Her success as an amateur led to a scholarship to Duke, where she helped guide the Blue Devils to the 2014 NCAA title.
Cangrejo is also very proud of the fact that she graduated with a double major in phycology and sociology with a minor in marketing.
Life as a professional hasn’t been as smooth. She has just one top 10 finish in 26 career starts on the Symetra Tour. Injuries have been a problem as she dealt with an inflammed wrist in 2015. The pain was so severe that she had trouble opening doors. MRI’s reveled that she either needed surgery or four months off. She even had bad luck on a family vacation to France when she slipped and fell down stairs in a castle and sprained her knee.
To this day, she wraps her wrist with protective tape and doesn’t hit too many balls on the range. The good news is that she is healthy and ready for a big year.
“Last year was rough trying to get my swing back, but I’m healthy now,” said Cangrejo. “I lost my full status this year so I’ve been an alternate at a few tournaments, but I did play in Northern California and finished in the top 10.”
She finished T8 at the POC Med Golf Classic.
“The LPGA dream I had when I was 12 is still definitely attainable,” said Cangrejo.” Golf is hard, but one good weekend can change a lot. I feel close. I have learned to really appreciate the process. Everything came very easy for me as I won a lot of tournaments as a junior. I had never felt a low persay, but I really have learned to value the fact that I can still be out here playing golf.”
And she can thank the horse Pelusa for leading her to golf.