BELLEAIR, Florida | Sometimes it’s easy to see how to win, get over the mental hump, and pound a put or two when it comes down to it. It could be a mini-tour event, or an unscheduled fourball, or in the case of Lauren Coughlin, a three-club challenge with her husband, followed by a handicap tournament with 80 amateurs and a handful of pros from the Korn Ferry, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and LPGA Tours.
“That win was No Laying Up’s NIT, which they call the Nest Invitational Tournament. It’s their tournament for all of their members, ”said Coughlin, who is currently 13th after rounds of 65-68 in the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James. “So [as a No Laying Up brand ambassador], they invited me to play in it. My husband was there. It was like 90 of us were playing in a tournament. They hindered it and flown and stuff. It was me, Justin Huber, who is another person they sponsor on the Korn Ferry Tour, and Andrew Alligood, a PGA TOUR Latino American guy they sponsor, and then like amateurs around 80. I played the same tees like Huber and Alligood, and Huber played 350. They wanted it to be tough but still like I could win.
“But yes, [the wind] Jacksonville was blowing 30 miles an hour and it was raining and we were supposed to play 36 on Friday, then 6 in the morning on Saturday, and then 18 for one last Saturday afternoon. But we only played 18 on Friday. Then on Saturday we played nine holes and then a three-hole shootout.
“It was a blast. Didn’t sleep much. But I really enjoy hanging out with the guys from No Laying Up and all the people I got to know through them. “
Winning didn’t hurt either.
“It was just a nice charge and fun golfing, which I don’t do often,” said Coughlin. “I mean, there wasn’t a real tournament as such, but it mattered. It actually helped. I’ve seen the ball go in many times and that confirmed to me that what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks has worked. You can do things at home and it can work at home. But it’s the hard part translating it into tournaments. Seeing the ball flow into the hole and knowing what I was doing was definitely a big help. “
This happened after a couple of rounds, which didn’t seem like much at the time, but had a significant impact on her confidence.
Coughlin lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her husband, a former University of Virginia college football player, works in fundraising at UVA. This is important because Dr. Bob Rotella, the famous sports psychologist, practices and lives in Charlottesville. Coughlin played a round with Rotella about three weeks ago where the good doctor gave her some advice on how to be a reactive athlete. Then, last week, she played a three-club match with her husband, which reinforced much of Rotella’s words.
“[My husband] could use a full set and I only had three clubs, ”she said. “I putted with a 7 iron and I putted incredibly. That not only talked to Bob about a lot, but also really clicked, I think. “
Her husband also gave her some advice that cleared her mind as she sat 106th in the Race to the CME Globe for the penultimate race of the season. The top 100 are excluded from the LPGA tour next year.
“He said it best. I had nothing to lose, ”said Coughlin. “No matter what happened, if I didn’t play well, cool, I’ll go to the Q series. In the worst case scenario, I’ll go back to the Q series. There wasn’t really anything to lose. I’m just very happy to be playing and trying to get the most out of it. “
So she came to the west coast of Florida with a free spirit and a newfound confidence on the greens. What she didn’t have was a guaranteed place in the field. Coughlin had to fight for the last two places with 47 other players in Monday’s qualification at TPC Tampa Bay. She won despite not playing a training round.
“I think I’m an extremely good striker, you have to be out here,” she said. “There really isn’t a pitch where I don’t think I can play well because no matter what, I can meet him really well. The big thing is just getting used to the greens. “
She didn’t see the back nine at Pelican Golf Club either, relying on her caddy to walk around the property and tell her where to go. “It was more like I really tried to dial into them [green] Speeds, ”she said.
She won the ball on Monday and instinctively played her way into the race in the first two rounds of the championship. A free spirit. A reactive athlete. Nothing to lose. It could all lead to a finish that will bring Coughlin over the hump and into 2022 with full LPGA Tour status.