BEAUMONT, Calif. — The city of Rancho Cucamonga is home to Gabriella and Angella Then, and is also located just 39 miles from the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon, host of this week’s 3rd annual IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa.
Furthermore, it is the first professional event the Then sisters will compete in together.
“I wish I had someone show me what to do before I got on the Symetra Tour. She's not on her own,” 22-year-old Gabriella said laughingly. “Since I had the opportunity to play the latter half of last year, I've learned quite a few things. My advice to her would be to not put so much pressure on yourself and enjoy every day we're out there playing professional golf.”
To make the occasion even sweeter, the event will mark the Symetra Tour debut for Angella.
“It is so special because we used to go to either Oak Valley or Tukwet/Morongo every weekend and spend hours upon hours there,” said 19-year-old Angella. “That’s where my game grew the fastest and where I discovered myself in the game. It’s going to be an unforgettable week for me, definitely.”
While this is the first true professional event for them to play against one another, they’ve shared the experience of gearing up for battle. Gabriella and Angella were in the same field for Stage II of the 2017 LPGA Qualifying Tournament, as well as the Monday qualifier for the 2018 LPGA Kia Classic.
Even though they’ll be striving to win the IOA Championship, it is about more than the competition, especially against one another.
“I know that we both want to beat each other, but at the end of the day, the golf course is our competition,” Angella said. “I actually want to be paired up with her so it will be just like our practice rounds. She guides me well, but also lets me find my own way. This is going to be really exciting for both of us.”
Many characteristics of the path that has led them to this point in their lives are the same from growing up in the same city, to living under the same roof. However, there are several differences.
Gabriella attended Upland High School in Upland, Calif., and graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with a Bachelor’s in Communications. Following her time at USC early last summer, she turned pro and joined the Symetra Tour.
As for Angella, she earned a diploma from Los Osos High School right in her hometown and is now the Assistant Professional and Junior Golf Academy Director at Hacienda Golf Club. In addition, she is getting ready to apply for her LPGA Teaching Certification with the objective of starting Level I this summer.
“I'm ecstatic that she's joining me,” said Gabriella. “This is something we've been talking about for many, many years, and the opportunity is finally here. From playing local junior golf tournaments, to being in this tournament together, we’ve come full circle. Our parents will definitely be here, as well as other family and friends.”
Sure, there’ll be plenty of family love this weekend in Beaumont, but just like they had growing up, a sibling rivalry is sure to reveal itself at various points during the tournament.
“We would compete for anything,” Angella said. “What I remember most is our chipping and closest to the pin competitions. We would play for who would wash the dishes at home after dinner. My short game wasn't the best part of my game, but it made me practice harder, and I think it made my sister practice harder because she didn't want to lose either.”
Now that they are both here on the professional level, together, expect the Then sisters to do what they’ve done their entire lives—bring out the best in one another.