Sherpa, the subject of an ESPN documentary, to compete on LPGA’s Official Qualifying Tour this month in Southern California
BEAUMONT, Calif. — She burst onto the scene through an ESPN “SC Featured” documentary. Now Pratima Sherpa is getting a chance to continue chasing her dream of becoming Nepal’s first female golf professional.
Sherpa will venture to Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon to compete in the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa as a sponsor exemption from March 29-31. The third event on the 2019 Symetra Tour calendar will be the Kathmandu native’s first start in a professional tournament in the United States.
“Being from Nepal and from a poor family, I had never imagined my identity could become a national golfer of Nepal and today I am in the U.S.A. because of golf,” said 19-year-old Sherpa, who will compete as an amateur. “I feel so proud to say that I am the first Nepali who has been invited by the LPGA to play in a tournament with the Symetra Tour. This is a really big opportunity in my life. In fact, this is like an achievement for my country.”
Released on April 22, 2018, ‘A Mountain to Climb,’ reported by Tom Rinaldi and directed by Kristen Lappas, chronicles Sherpa’s journey to defy all odds, as she grew up living with her parents in the maintenance shed at Royal Nepal Golf Club.
“Anyone watching Pratima’s story is immediately struck by the insurmountable odds she has already overcome,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour. “She has an optimism and spirit that is both infectious and inspiring. We are proud to play a small part in writing the next chapter of her incredible story.”
In January, the Montano family of Ventura, Calif., brought Sherpa into their home to provide an opportunity for education and platform to train for the game she loves. Sherpa is enrolled at Santa Barbara City College and practices with their golf team while also working with swing coach Don Parsons, who instructed Mike and Tanya’s daughter Sophia, a former college golfer.
“Before coming here, her days were mostly filled with golf and now she is learning something new with academics, exercise and having to balance it all,” said Tanya Smith-Montano, who first hosted Sherpa in the summer of 2017 so she could compete regionally. “Since she arrived, there has been a bit of an adjustment. It’s a completely different academic system. Our goal is for her to receive a four-year college degree so she can have many more opportunities back in Nepal. At the same time, we want her to pursue golf and her dreams.”
Since stepping back onto American soil earlier this year, Sherpa’s transition is going smoothly. She is working to obtain her driver’s license and even attended the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open to watch childhood idol Tiger Woods, who she met and hit golf balls with in previous visits to the United States.
“I believe playing in a Symetra Tour tournament will help me become more confident for upcoming days and I am hoping to learn many new things,” Sherpa added. “I have always had a dream to play on the LPGA. I never imagined that dreams can become a reality in such a very short time. I always follow two things in my life: nothing is impossible and hard work always pays off. Being invited by the LPGA and Symetra Tour has helped me to prove these things.