Stepping up to the first tee at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio is nothing new for Lizzie Win. As a member of the club for roughly five years and a native Sylvanian, Win has played Highland Meadows many times before.
Prior to teeing off, Win remembers thinking to herself, “It’s another golf tournament, it’s another tee shot, just hit it.”
But it was not just another golf tournament. It was the 2018 Marathon Classic and Win’s first time playing at the professional level.
Despite it being her first time competing in an LPGA event, the Seton Hall junior was dealt a home-course advantage.
“I’ve worked the LPGA events there my entire life. I know that course inside and out so, to have the opportunity to play there was really cool,” Win said. “A lot of the members came out and watched and were like, ‘This is so cool to have someone from our home course represent us on tour.’ Having that support from the club was really cool.”
After playing the event qualifier on Monday, Win received a call from the director of the tournament saying that she would have a spot in the tournament’s opening round on Thursday.
“The whole week was like a whirlwind because everything was happening so quickly,” Win said. “I was nervous because, you know, it’s an LPGA event. I get nervous at college level tournaments and this is a whole new level.”
Despite the added pressure, Win had plenty of familiar faces in her corner, including a very close family friend in LPGA veteran Brittany Lincicome.
“I’ve known her since I was like nine and I’ve always looked up to her,” Win said. “Getting to play with her and see how she operates on the golf course is really cool because when I was little it was from outside the ropes. But now, I’m competing at the same level as her.”
Also aiding Win was her caddy, who just so happens to be her father, Tom.
“He knows the game as well if not better than I do, so getting to have his input on the bag and have his support throughout the entire week was awesome,” Win said. “Getting to have him next to me, I wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s so cool.”
Win, a two-time member of the All-Big East Team, did not disappoint in her first LPGA event. Riding a solid round of 75 on Thursday, Win shined on Friday shooting an even-par, 71, including four birdies.
“After the first round, the next day I went out and ended up birdieing the last hole. That was really surreal,” Win said. “Overall it was an awesome week and I really hope I’ll have the opportunity to do it again.”
Seton Hall women’s golf head coach Natalie Desjardins was impressed with Win’s performance.
“That’s just who Lizzie Win is, she rises when the pressure is on and I had no doubt that she would be successful. I definitely see that it was a big moment for her,” Desjardins said.
Heading into her junior season with the Pirates, Win will bring with her the confidence that she can succeed at golf’s highest level.
“I think the biggest thing I took out of the week is knowing that I can compete at that level. You go in there and you hope for the best but when you actually play at that level, things start to click in your mind like, ‘I can hit it as far as them. I have as many birdies as them. I can get up and down as much as they can,’” Win said. “Shooting 75 and 71 at the LPGA definitely will alleviate some of the pressure I have going into the Big East [Tournament].”
“I’m excited for her for this season. I have no doubt she’ll be knocking at that doorstep for her first individual win as a Pirate at the collegiate level,” Desjardins said. “Hopefully, we can get the ball rolling the way she did on the LPGA and keep getting the wins in.”
With a more experienced Win teeing up, the Pirates sure look to be in store for plenty of wins.
Nicholas Santoriello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NickSantoriello.