The first edition of the Circling Raven Championship starts tomorrow and many Symetra Tour Members will be teeing it up for their first time in Idaho, but two players call the Gem State home. Traveling a few hours north of where she grew up, Gabby Lemieux (Caldwell, Idaho) has been anxiously waiting for the tournament to come around.
“Honestly it’s the best feeling in the planet. In college (my family) never really got to come out because I wasn’t in the Idaho area. So the fact that we have a professional event in Idaho this year is absolutely fantastic because friends and family can actually come out and watch,” said Lemieux. “I played the course in 2019 and it was just for fun though, so this is a whole different experience. The tee shots are probably much harder that what we have seen all year, so you must put it in the right position to score. Overall, the course is in great shape, and I think a lot of the girls will be looking forward to this weekend.”
Last year, Lemieux shared her #DriveOn story as one of the only Native Americans to compete on the LPGA or Symetra Tour. She is a member of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. While feeling the support and love from hosts like the Coeur d'Alene tribes, she remembers that competing on Tour is a story that is bigger than just her. Lemieux has taken on a role she believes deeply in being a role model for those around her.
“Having the event here in Coeur d'Alene and have part of a tribe and my tribe come together to celebrate this special place is an incredible opportunity,” said Lemieux. “I think that (being a role model) is probably the most important part of the game of golf. I see kids come out here and so many players out here will give them a golf ball or a glove or a hat and players out here think about that. It’s important for us to do that to keep growing the game of women’s golf.
A few more miles from where she was raised - 4,823 to be exact - is Sophie Hausmann (Nottuln, Germany). The University of Idaho alumna will be competing in her second home this week, after coming to the States to compete collegiately starting in 2015. During her time with the Vandals, she was a two-time Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, a four-time All-Big Sky First-Team selection and a two-time medalist.
Hausmann has a potential advantage heading into the weekend, having seen Circling Raven Golf Club ahead of this week. Her team played here a handful of times for team outings.
“I played only an hour south of here in Moscow, so I have been to the northern parts of Idaho quite a bit. We had a team retreat here at the lake and my coach had us play a few events here so it’s kind of nice after being on the road all season to go to a place where you know people and know where things are and feel like you are home again,” said Hausmann.
“When we played team retreats here it was always the beginning of the year and we were all trying to get to know each other as a team. I remember the good stuff because we would try to shoot low scores. I remember some pretty views with the open holes as well, but it can get windy in the morning or afternoon so the course can really play different and I don’t think you can take a home course advantage here, but it’s nice to know what to expect.