Former U of M Golfer Lauren Grogan Shoots Career-Best to Lead Michigan Women’s Open
THOMPSONVILLE – Lauren Grogan, a former University of Michigan golfer from Columbus, Ohio, who is coaching at Central Michigan University as a graduate assistant, calmly fired a career-best 7-under 65 Monday, and leads the 23rd Michigan PGA Women’s Open through one round on the Mountain Ridge course at Crystal Mountain Resort.
“It was a painless round, and we had fun out there,” the 23-year-old second-year professional said. “I love this venue. It’s gorgeous here. My dad (Dennis) is my caddie and my mom and my aunt are here. To have everyone with me is exciting because they don’t get to see me play that often, but it also keeps me calm because my Dad has always been a calming voice.”’
Grogan had a two-shot lead on Symetra Tour player Jenny Coleman of Rolling Hills Estate, Calif., a former University of Colorado golfer, who shot 67, and three on 69-shooting Ashley Tait of Littleton, Colo., who was a runner-up in the Michigan PGA Women’s Open in 2011 and has been a regular entrant in recent years.
Four golfers checked in with 70s, including Grogan’s former teammate at Michigan, Alyssa Shimel of Perrysburg, Ohio, amateur Lily Pendy of Grosse Pointe Farms who plays collegiate golf at Ohio University, Liz Breed of Waynesboro, Pa., and Amy Ihm of Peosta, Iowa.
With just seven golfers under par, seven more shoot even par, including two-time champion and former LPGA Tour player Suzy Green-Roebuck of Ann Arbor, and former Michigan State University golfers turned professional, Lindsey McPherson of Flushing and Caroline Powers of Bowling Green, Ohio.
Michigan State women’s golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll was among those who shot 73.
The field will play through Wednesday to determine the $6,000 first-place winner from the $37,000 purse.
Grogan, who said she ended up at Michigan after it just felt like the right place on a campus visit, had seven birdies, no bogeys, missed just one green in regulation and managed to save par when that happened.
“I told my dad at 16 tee that 16 and 17 were par holes, then I hit it to one foot at 16 for birdie, and we had to laugh,” she said. “I was hitting it close, and feeling really good about it. That putt on 18 (18-footer for birdie) was not one I expected to make, but I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes in, and it went in. It was that kind of round. I kept it in play, which is really the key here, and that gives you chances to score.”
Grogan is getting her Master’s degree at CMU while working for head coach Cheryl Stacy, who previously coached at Michigan and recruited Grogan from high school. She plans to complete her education and then give professional golf a full-time chance.
“I went to (LPGA qualifying) last August and I told myself I didn’t want it to be my last Q School,” she said. “I’m learning as a coach, and as a player I’m learning to take advantage of being able to hit the ball a good distance.”
Coleman, who has played in every Symetra Tour stop so far this season, rolled in from Harris, Mich., in the Upper Peninsula Sunday night and will head to the Tullymore Classic at Tullymore Resort on Thursday. She said hit it close and made a couple of good putts in her 67, including birdies at 17 and 18 coming in.
“I played in this tournament last year and liked the course,” she said. “I’m working on being more consistent. I have good weeks, and some not-so-good weeks.”
Complete results from the first round and pairings for the second round can be found at www.michiganpgagolf.com
via Greg Johnson