White learning from Q School collapse

Adrienne White is coping well for someone who had her dream sift through her fingers. The Red Deer golfer was sitting pretty after the first four rounds of the LPGA Qualifying School Tournament in Daytona beach, Fla., this past weekend in a tie for 14th at two-under par. All she needed was a Top 20 finish and she would have secured her full-time tour card for the 2010 season.

Adrienne White

Adrienne White is coping well for someone who had her dream sift through her fingers.

The Red Deer golfer was sitting pretty after the first four rounds of the LPGA Qualifying School Tournament in Daytona beach, Fla., this past weekend in a tie for 14th at two-under par. All she needed was a Top 20 finish and she would have secured her full-time tour card for the 2010 season.

Shooting par would have locked that up with room to spare.

Instead she struggled to a three-over 75 and missed out on full tour exemption by one stroke.

Her performance, however was good enough to keep her in a tie for 29th and gained her partial status — meaning she will get to participate in a limited number of tour events this year.

“I’m really proud of myself and how I performed this week . . . and I was pretty happy with my finish,” said White. “I could sit and dwell on what happened the last day or I can take the opportunity in front of me now and make the most of it because it’s still a fairly big door that has opened in front of me, so I’m just going to focus on that and move forward.”

What did happen, though, was a combination of burn out and not necessarily being ready for prime time.

“It was a long week — we played five rounds over six days — and I think I was probably a little bit tired at the end. I was mentally exhausted, and because of that I wasn’t able to handle the pressure as well as I had the rest of the week, and closing is always the toughest thing to do in a tournament,” said White. “It was definitely the most pressure I’ve ever faced in competition and I probably didn’t handle it the best that I could, but I tried to hold it together and I managed to walk away with some status for next year.”

White has slowly gained more experience over the seasons, having played in the last couple Canadian Opens and qualifying schools the previous two years, but nothing she had gone through before could prepare her for what she was staring down Sunday night before the final round.

“I was trying my hardest not to think of the result and of the huge opportunity I had in front of me,” said White. “I was excited that I was there and that I had that opportunity . . . but I was exhausted and beyond tired. You don’t really sleep that week. Every time I woke up I was replaying holes in my head. I would wake up at least 10 times a night and just start playing golf in my head . . . It’s a long week of not very good sleep, bad weather and good weather, good shots and bad shots. Going into the last day I was pretty nervous and excited at the same time. I just tried to hold it together and I did my best.”

White now has her work cut out for her, but that’s something she is used to.

The underdog status is one she is very comfortable with.

While she attended two big universities in the U.S. — Ole Miss and Louisville — neither are considered frontrunners when it comes to golf and they really had to rise to the occasion to compete with the big golf programs.

“I need to work really hard in order to get myself in position to play against the top players. I’m starting all over again,” said White. “I’m just taking it one day at a time and when I get the opportunity to try and make the most of them and keep moving. It’s a slow process but I’m only 25 so I have a long career ahead of me.”

In attempt to even out the playing field, White has moved to Phoenix where she can get in the needed hours on the golf course year round. It is a reality most Canadian golfer face if they want to be serious about the sport.

But it also goes beyond the weather and better competition.

“It’s difficult (being a Canadian golfer) and I didn’t really understand why until I was in the shoes that I am,” said White. “(Countries) like Korea are huge in backing their athletes and realizing when an athlete has an amazing amount of potential and the whole government and everybody gets behind them to support them. And that’s where Canadian athletes are missing that support. A lot of us are out here on our own and doing it with our own dollars and we’re trying to win as much as we can to put as much of it towards our own coaches and our own training but with that comes limitations and we can only do so much.”

At this point White isn’t sure when her next LPGA tour event will be, only hoping that she gets in a few early tournaments and can make some cuts. After the first eight tournaments the LPGA reorganizes the priority list that she is on and if she performs well enough she can find herself in even more events.

She will be taking her que from Anna Nodrqvist, who started the 2009 season in the exact same spot as White but won the final event of the year.

Until then, she has earned a well deserved break.

“For the immediate future it’s just time off and celebrate the holidays,” said White. “I’ll fly back to Phoenix in January and in February I’ll play in a couple of mini-tour events and as the season picks up I will play in all the LPGA events I can and play in a lot of Future Tour events in between.”

jaldrich@bprda.wpengine.com

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