For most players with professional aspirations, an exemption into LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II would be a godsend. But for amateur Beatrice Wallin (Gothenburg, Sweden) who was awarded a spot in the field as a top-5 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin Collegiate Rankings at the time of the entry deadline, skipping Stage I has had both its advantages and disadvantages.
“I feel like it's a relief but then I'm more nervous because I don't know how it is,” said the Florida State All-American. “I think the people that went to Stage I, they know more how it's going to be. It's a long week with the nerves and the pressure you put on yourself. Meanwhile, I don't know what to expect, and I was super nervous on the first hole. It’s nice that I don't have to play the first (stage) and then also it’s a good thing to do it. I don't know how to think about it, but it definitely helped me.”
Despite her trepidation, the Swede finds herself squarely in the mix after shooting 69-71 in the first two rounds. Thursday’s 3-under performance was even more special for Wallin because boyfriend and Korn Ferry Tour member John Pak was on-site at Plantation Golf & Country Club cheering her on. The two have been together for seven months and with their being incredibly skilled players looking to create a place for themselves in the pro ranks, the relationship has a basis in shared experience.
“It's super nice that he could come down here and support me and just take the pressure off a little so I could think about other stuff,” said Wallin. “We've been dating for almost seven months now so it feels pretty new. It's awesome to have him here and give me some smiles and some applause. I feel like he's more experienced than I am. I asked him for advice and stuff, and I try to support him and he supports me so it's kind of nice that we're going through similar things.”
It was an up and down Friday for the 22-year-old with three birdies and two bogeys on the card. As she looks to make some noise on the weekend, Wallin plans to stay within herself and rely heavily on her experience playing on Bermudagrass, wanting to just enjoy her time in Venice with her brother on the bag.
“Kind of just like play these two days and just play my game and play against the course and not everyone else because it's a lot of people and everyone is great and they come this far for a reason,” said Wallin of her weekend expectations. “My experience chipping on (Bermudagrass) and playing different courses in the States, it was so new my freshman year and sophomore years. I didn't know what to do and what to expect. I feel like now I know a little more about the courses and the grass and how to hit those types of shots. All kinds of grass are so different. If you're here, it's Bermuda. If you're somewhere else, it's completely different. It's kind of nice to have that experience in the bag.”