Emma Talley really likes Capitol Hill at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. She’s been coming here since middle school. Since she grew up in Princeton, Kentucky, which is a little over five hours from Prattville, she used to spend spring breaks with her dad, Dan, playing golf at RTJ. They would stay in a nearby hotel and just play golf at Capitol Hill.
“I didn’t know yet that I was going to Alabama, it was just a random place we picked out”
It’s even more random that she returns this week to play in a professional tournament at Capitol Hill for a second time.
“I just like the layout and I feel like the course can get away from you if you’re not careful and you don’t know the golf course,” said Talley, who estimates playing Capitol Hill 25 times in her life. “It seems pretty open, but the bunkers are placed in spots that can get you in trouble. Then, some of the greens have three greens on one green so if you’re not careful, you can get yourself into a three-putt pretty easily.”
A perfect example of Talley knowing the course was 2015 when she played the Yokohama LPGA event at Capitol Hill and made the cut before she was a professional.
Talley, 23, went onto star at the University of Alabama where she won the individual national title in 2015. This week, she has a chance to seal her LPGA fate with a win.
Talley now lives just an hour from Capitol Hill in Birmingham and plays and practices out of Shoal Creek, which will host the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open. On Thursday, Talley played in the pro-am with Shoal Creek Director of Golf Eric Williamson, who qualified in the 2015 PGA Championship.
“This (Capitol Hill and Alabama) is like a second home and so I’d love to have a good finish to help my situation,” said Talley, who currently ranks seventh on the money list. “It could seal the deal, which would be nice.”
There are just two events remaining after the Guardian Championship so a strong finish would relieve some of the stress of the final two weeks.
Talley tees off at 7:44 a.m. from the tenth tee on Friday in the first-round. On Friday night, she will help with the coin toss at the Prattville High School football game.
“In my hometown, football is king so I’m excited,” said Talley. “When I told my parents I was doing it, both of them are now coming to the football game too.”