SPONSOR EXEMPTION CURRY RETURNS HOME, REMINDED OF HEARTBREAK
Coming home for Caroline Curry (Santa Rosa, California) is always special, but this time it is different and not without a void.
On October 8, 2017, the home Curry grew up at and parents still lived in was destroyed by the Tubbs Fire, the most destructive wildfire in California history when it occurred and one of more than a dozen which broke out in Sonoma County around that time.
“It’s rough to be home because of the fires that happened,” the 22-year-old said. “All of a sudden they were told to get out, the fire was a block away and luckily they did. Coming back is kind of crazy, driving up and around where my house was I’m seeing places I could never see before. It’s my hometown, but doesn’t necessarily feel like it. We lost so much, a huge piece.”
At the time of the devastation, Curry was in Temecula, Calif., having graduated from Professional Golfers Career College in April 2017 with an Associate’s in Golf and Business Management then taking a job at Menifee Lakes Country Club. She also worked at Valley Junior Golf Association after obtaining a degree, helping grow the novice division.
Eventually, Curry turned professional later that year in November. As she made the transition from amateur golf, she moved in with her dad in Palm Desert to assist with her parent’s transition from the loss of their home. With an original retirement plan to spend winter in the desert and venture to Graeagle for summer, the fires sped up the process by six months.
“A year ago I was in the desert with my family because they had moved there and I was practicing every day, grinding away and ruining my tan lines,” Curry said laughingly. “Over the summer I went to Graeagle, a little golfer’s community in Northern California, instead of being in the heat of the desert. Flew to Arizona for a Cactus Tour event and didn’t do so hot, then came back and the next day hit a driver, tensed up and pop.”
If the wildfires weren’t enough, Curry hit another bump in the road last October when she heard that noise—a torn rotator cuff. It led her to take a job at Shadow Mountain Golf Club, where she currently works full-time as the Pro Shop Manager and Teaching Professional.
When her dreams of professional golf seemed lost, Richard Coombs stepped in. A family friend and the President of Windsor Golf Club, he wanted to give Curry a shot. Needless to say, she’ll make her first Symetra Tour start tomorrow in a journey filled with obstacles and doubt.
“After the injury, I slowly got back into it and underwent a complete swing change,” said Curry. “I had what my friends and coaches called the ‘Reverse Jim Furyk,’ where it looked like I grew up swinging a sledgehammer. Now it is gone and looks like I have an actual golf swing. I wasn’t feeling nerves until people started asking before I left [SoCal]. I’m here and going to enjoy the experience while I have it.”
WORKOUT REGIMEN HAS COUGHLIN FEELING GOOD AGAIN
When she looked in the mirror following the inaugural LPGA Q-Series last November, Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia) did not like what she saw so the 2017 ACC Player of the Year at the University of Virginia decided it was time for a change.
“I had said I would start for a really long time, but I think I just finally hit bottom,” Coughlin said. “I wasn’t fitting into anything I had, and when I tried things on, I hated how I looked. It was all of this stuff and just realized I needed to do something. Had about four months for the offseason, which was nice because I had never had more than a month between Q-School and when the season started.”
In early December, Coughlin started working with John Lewellen, the husband of former UVA women’s golf coach Kim Lewellen. He implemented a strict workout regimen and met with Coughlin at least three times a week until she left for Houston in February to continue preparation for the 2019 campaign.
“I had someone who was keeping me accountable,” said Coughlin, who spent five to six days per week in the gym during the time off. “He is a baseball coach at one of the top private high schools, so we would workout at their facility. People had been telling me I need to do this for a long time, but I think the big thing was I decided I wanted to do it for me. Then getting into a routine makes it much better.”
It took time and that understanding, but the more she worked the results started to show. Coughlin is down 18 pounds and two pant sizes since training began, she feels better during and after a round of golf, and her energy level is at a new high. Even so, that hasn’t stopped the current No. 3 in the Volvik Race for the Card from putting a pause on the new her.
“I don’t get as sore after I play anymore because I’ll go to the gym and get it all worked out,” Coughlin said. “I know it was only two weeks, but physically I felt fine playing back-to-back tournaments last month and that probablywouldn’t have happened a year ago. It was hard at the beginning. A couple weeks in I wasn’t seeing much difference on the scale, but I started seeing a difference in how things fit. Then about a month in I started wearing clothes I didn’t fit into in over a year and that kept me going.”
Coughlin begins play in the Windsor Golf Classic tomorrow at 8:03 a.m. PDT off No. 1 tee with tournament sponsor exemption Curry and Huize Lian (Dalian, China).